Accounting for Park Expenditures Wanted
By Wayne Witkowski
April 18, 2018 Pike County Dispatch
DINGMANS FERRY – How much money has been spent on Akenac Park since it was taken over by Delaware Township in 2006?
Supervisor John Henderson, regarded for his tough stand on township finances, wants answers.
His motion for a study of how that money was spent in the park, open to county residents and out-of-county visitors for a fee, was passed unanimously during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
“I want to know 100 percent of what taxpayers have paid,” Henderson said firmly. “We have a crumbling foundation in one building (being repaired) and leaking roofs on other cabins.”
“We may not know how all of the money was spent going back years ago based on records that were kept,” said Supervisor Jane Neufeld, who has monitored and developed township spending plans in recent months as the treasurer.
Henderson could not venture a deadline for when the figures would be sorted out.
“What is the end game?” asked resident Karen Hagen. “Is it so we don’t make the same mistakes?”
“Exactly,” Henderson said. “It’s going to be a history lesson.”
“It will help us do it all better,” Neufeld said.
The supervisors also agreed to put together a survey questionnaire for people entering the park of what they plan to do and what they expect coming to the park, an idea endorsed by Neufeld.
There will be a workshop at the township 9am on May 5 to discuss Akenac Park.
The park began its summer schedule last weekend, which includes weekdays as well as weekends from dawn to dusk. It’s only open on weekends for the winter schedule. During the pre-meeting workshop, there was a discussion on specifying operating hours for the park but that was put off for future discussion.
Also on financial matters, the township continued along the goal set by Neufeld and township Administrator Krista Predmore for transparency and to better specify allocation of taxpayer money by unanimously approving resolutions to move money from the General Fund into itemized reserve funds.
“We have a log of money (in General Fund) and we have to show (specifically) what’s being done with it,” Neufeld said. “We’re putting money aside (now) so we don’t have to put so much money in to the budget for expenses expected to come our way in the next give to 10 years, instead of looking at things one year at a time.” The resolutions, first introduced last fall, set aside $310,767 for operating reserve, $250,000 for recreational capital reserve, $325,000 for emergency services and $475,000 for roads, bridges and major equipment. With “$50,074 already set aside from the past for recreation funds, that, reserve now carries a $300,074 total. There remains in the general fund $77,000 that has not yet been allocated.
The board also approved spending no more than $2,700 on replacing road equipment damaged from winter storms Riley and Quinn, including “road closed” signs and barricades. It also approved $583.17 to the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps to repair one ambulance damaged during the storms.
It also approved spending $6,937.56 for mulch at the Akenac Park and Ballpark Road playgrounds and for more said at the Akenac Park beach and volleyball court there, both shipments coming from Dingmans Ferry Stone.
Michael Dickerson was approved unanimously for one of the three township auditor posts. Rick Koehler had won the election last fall for the seat but resigned as of Jan. 1 in order to take the other position as elected township supervisor.
Only one letter of interest was received for the Recreation Committee that is being revived. Neufeld said the responsibilities that include raising money for recreation might have discouraged some people and suggested a round table discussion on the topic. “I’m going to wait until I get more mobile to get around and talk to people,” said Henderson, who has been battling an illness.
The supervisors unanimously agreed to advertise for a public hearing 7:15pm on May 9 regarding the township’s Blue Ridge Cable franchise renewal. The hearing will include a review of past performance and identifying the future cable-related community needs of the township. Citizens are invited to testify. “Come with your questions about service,” Neufeld said.
The board at its next meeting on April 25 will have a public hearing to amend ordinance 901’s definition of land development. The hearing begins at 7:15pm.