DELAWARE TOWNSHIP BUDGET HEADED TOWARD NICE SURPLUS
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, August 17, 2017
DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township’s budget got a clean bill of health during its current exam of the first eight months, as presented by township Administrator Krista Predmore at last week’s township workshop before the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting.
A total actual income of $1,208,823.26 for the township was tabulated versus $822,527.52 for actual expenses.
Income was projected for the yearly budget at #1,239,023.24. Actual expenses are about a third less than the $1,293,023 estimated for the budget.
“Overall, I think the budget will be at a surplus at the end of the year,” Predmore told the gathering. “Expenditures should be minimal for the rest of the year.”
That is, barring an unforeseen emergency or natural disaster such as hurricane or an early season epic snowstorm.
If it stays the course, what that should amount to is no tax increase for the next fiscal year and perhaps another tax decrease.
The board of supervisors last year unanimously approved a tax millage rate of 9.68 for the 2017 budget year’s taxes and the forth drop in the last six years. That’s uncommon in the challenging financial climate.
Predmore attributed it to 99.1 percent of real estate taxes having been collected and that the real estate transfer taxes at $92,731.78 have exceeded by about $22,000 the $70,000 budget projection.
INSURANCE POLICY SAVINGS
She said the township invested carefully in insurance. In fact, supervisors during the regular meeting last week, along with approving a renewal of its annual property/inland marine/crime/commercial auto with MRM, moved other policy coverages to that company based in the Philadelphia area. After considerable research, the board proposed and approved unanimously changing its general liability insurance to MRM for $7,100 and its liability insurance for public officials/employment practices to that company for $9,647.00. Compared to other price quotes, Supervisor Jane Neufeld said the “savings is considerable, over $15,000 saved.”
“We’re in a comfortable place,” said Predmore, who pointed to last year’s budget at the end of the year 20 percent ahead of projections, with expenses at 1.3 percent above projections.
“We’ve worked hard to things, like lower insurance rates,” Predmore said afterward. “We always look to see where we can reduce the amount of expenses.”
In other meeting news, the board agreed to pave certain parking areas of Akenac Park in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. The board also, after discussions on the subject during the workshop, unanimously passed a motion at the meeting to add “no vaping” alongside “no smoking” on the written policy and on the park signage.
Lori McCrory, township Permit Assistant and an Akenac park liaison, said many visitors to the park the prior weekend were smoking vapor cigarettes. Although they differ from tobacco cigarettes, McCrory said they set an example for the younger visitors with their families and that many adults were smoking them at different areas of the park, more than usual. Although township ordinance does not establish a penalty for the offense, McCrory said most people agreed to stop when reminded of the “no smoking” directive , but requested a designated “no vaping” designation.
The board advanced to the township Planning Commission a proposed zoning ordinance amendment establishing the placement of dog kennel classification under conditional use based on whether it is in a commercial or residential area. McCrory said residents complained of excessive barking from a lot of dogs housed by a neighbor, but she said her research found that the township ordinances defined what is a kennel but set no restrictions. The existing ordinance defined the term “kennel” applying to anyone with three or four dogs breeding on the property.
The township denied a request by the Downtown Baseball and Softball Academy, based in Milford, to use Field No. 4 at the township municipal grounds on Mondays from Aug. 14 to Oct. 16. It involves the academy’s Under 11 travel baseball team for 10 and 11 year olds. Resident Steve McBride pointed out that this is a “for profit” venture for using township property, which typically is granted for nonprofits.
The supervisors agreed with McBride’s suggestion that the township should charge the academy more than the $150 service fee per team for use of a field and that the academy help maintain upkeep of the field after using it. Academy representative Krystyn Stasyshyn was at the meeting and said the academy would be open to a higher fee and would inform her league of the township’s directive that it must help in the upkeep of the field.
Predmore said she and Stasyshyn would keep in communication and the academy’s request would be reintroduced with those revisions at the next meeting on August 23 for consideration. Stasyshyn said they would need a field soon with the league season about to open or the academy would have to look elsewhere.
Supervisors approved the use of the municipal building for 9am to 4pm on October 19th by Diakon Community Services on behalf of the Pike County agency on Aging for Medical Open Enrollment assistance and counseling. Neufeld stressed the importance of the event as a community service. The board also approved use of the municipal building from 9am to 4pm on Sept. 28 by the Milford Valley Quilt Guild for a class.
The board also granted a request for the use of the municipal building for a general community meeting of resident from Pocono Mountain Lake Estates Sections 4,5,6 on Sept. 23 from 9am to noon.
The date was changed from Sept. 9 Although the private community has a clubhouse for meetings, it is for residents in Sections 2 and 3, one resident pointed out. Akenac Park was approved for a Sept. 3 Labor Day Family Nature Getaway Weekend from 2-5:30pm by PEEC. Shawn Coleman, during public comment, said he appreciated the playground equipment for families at Akenac Park and praised the township for its “diligent efforts to improve and promote a great product” with the park.
Dingmans Ferry Historical Society will hold its annual Ice Cream Social for township residents at 7pm Thursday at the Delaware Township Municipal Building.