Hilltown Township

Hilltown Township, Bucks County, PA
Hilltown Township

Home > Website Resources

Meeting Minutes


Board of Supervisors
Wednesday, October 24 2018




4:30 PM

The advertised 2019 Work Session Budget meeting of the Hilltown Township Board of Supervisors was called to order by Chairman John B. McIlhinney at 4:43 PM and opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also in attendance were Vice- Chairman Kenneth Bennington, Supervisor James Groff, Township Manager Lorraine Leslie, Director of Public Works Tom Hess, and Chief of Police Christopher Engelhart.


3. YEAR 2019 PROPOSED BUDGET – DISCUSSION/QUESTIONS/COMMENTS: Township Manager, Lorraine Leslie, stated there will be no tax increase for 2019 which is the 8th year in a row with no tax increase. Ms. Leslie noted the following budget items:

General Fund

The General Fund budget includes a seven percent (7%) increase in the medical and prescription coverage and three percent (3%) increase in the dental coverage.

The on-call pay was increased last year to account for changes in the Police Contract and is budgeted accordingly for 2019.

Heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuels have been retained at a higher level to account for possible increases in costs.

The donations to the three ambulance companies will continue.

There is an additional amount of money in General Fund to complete the following road projects depending on costs: Entire Country Roads Development

Beech Lane

Orchard Road between Diamond & Walnut Streets

Spur Road

Park and Recreation Fund

A replacement mower and replacement pick-up truck assigned to the Park and Recreation Department will be purchased.

Street Light Fund:

Street Lighting will be assessed, again, in 2019 until the difference is made up.

Page 2

Budget Work Session Meeting

October 24, 2018

Capital Projects

To continue renovations within the Township Building, administration bathrooms, lobby bathrooms, and the front and back doors to the building will be completed, with the possibility of the replacement of the existing oil burner and, possibly, the generator both of which are thirty years old.

Repairs are needed on the air conditioning system in the lunch room at the Public Works Building.

Recreation Capital Reserve Fund

There is $275,000 in the budget for a baseball field and soccer field at Forest Road Park.

There is $250,000 in the budget for the pedestrian path.

Stormwater Reserve

The Spur Road and the Middle Road culvert replacements are in the budget, as well as the bridges on Hillcrest and Fairhill School Roads.

Road Equipment Fund

The road equipment budget includes a dump truck replacement as well as a backhoe.

Mr. Hess noted the dump truck that is being replaced is 14 years old and the electrical wiring is shot and the body is rusted.

Additional items discussed:

Ms. Leslie stated there is 600 tons of salt in the new salt hut at the present time. Combined with the existing salt of 500 tons, there is a total of 1,100 tons with the possibility of adding an additional 300 tons of salt to start the winter season. Mr. Hess stated, since 1980, a new backhoe is purchased every 10 years, and the old backhoe goes out the door at 20 years.

Ms. Leslie noted an extra $165,000 was put into the road materials line item to help catch up on paving, and then proceeded to discuss the Liquid Fuels budget.

Mr. Hess stated one "lap" around the Township takes 85-90 tons of salt and discussed the pros and cons of brining the roads.

A discussion on street trees was held. Mr. Hess stated 38 trees were taken down at The Reserves and Ridge Developments that were all dead and they will be renting a stump grinder to take the stumps out and adding top soil. With the current Ash tree problem and the slow Oak problem that is going to arise, they are going to have dead trees everywhere. If the trees are in the Township right-of-way and they are straight up and down, the Public Works Department are de-limbing the trees over the road as much as they can so the limbs do not fall in the road or pedestrians driving

Page 3

Budget Work Session Meeting

October 24, 2018

by. Taking trees down for everybody is going to be a 6 person operation with flag people, backhoe, etc., turning it into removing one tree a day. Mr. Hess continued to state they feel comfortable handling trees in the upper 40’ high range. Chairman McIlhinney suggested going out on bids from an outside contractor for tree removal if they are in the right-of-way, 15" in diameter and larger than 40’ tall. It was decided for the Public Works Department to continue to do the de-limbing that they are presently doing and to talk to Bob Wynn for a long term plan. It was also noted letters need to go out to the residents when the public works department need to go on their property to trim the trees.

Public Comment: Wally Rosenthal, 530 Rosey Lane, stated Asplundh comes around twice a year to trim the trees around the power lines and maybe ducktail their efforts with the Township’s efforts and, if there is a dead tree, have them take it down.

After additional discussion, it was stated for the Public Works Department to continue to do what they are doing, if they see an Ash tree that is dying, then take it down, and to cut down any branches on trees that are in the right-of-way. Ms. Leslie stated letters need to go to the residents and possibly bring in the Home Owners Associations to discuss the tree situation.

Mr. Hess stated they have already had their first leaf pickup and it will continue until election week or the week after.

Mr. Hess stated the new signs are up at the yard waste facility. Ms. Leslie stated the new ordinance will be enforced on Saturday, October 27, 2018 and will forward a signed copy of the ordinance to Chief Engelhart.

Ms. Leslie discussed the Police Department general fund budget stating heating oil increased as well as fuel. Uniforms were increased. The unemployment rate decreased on the first $10,000 along with a small decrease in liability insurance. Vehicle operating and vehicle repairs were taken up slightly. Dues, subscriptions, and memberships was taken up considerably as well as the meetings and training category. Ms. Leslie stated everything that Chief Engelhart listed in the Police Capital Budget in the amount of $172,200.00 is included with the exception of the $2,000.00 for the body worn cameras, which is an operating item, and the $30,000.00 for renovations.

Chief Engelhart stated he is looking for another $30,000.00 towards renovations inside the department which have been on-going. They are in the process of starting the re-model of the patrol offices which is in this year’s budget in the amount of $40,000.00. Chairman McIlhinney stated, last year at this time, Chief Engelhart was to run all of the improvements that he was anticipating making through the manager’s office. Chief Engelhart stated, before he starts with any project, he confers with Ms. Leslie to make sure it is approved. The renovation will continue with the sergeant’s office, conference room, and the front administration office. Some of the funds would be used for minor bathroom renovation. Ms. Leslie stated she has not discussed any of the

Page 4

Budget Work Session Meeting

October 24, 2018

current renovations with Chief Engelhart this year. Chief Engelhart stated he is still in communication with the contractor and is waiting for additional quotes as no bidding is required since the quotes are coming under $10,800.00. The administration renovation is more involved because of the bullet proof glass. Chief Engelhart stated the $40,000.00 worth of renovations in this year’s budget will be done by the end of this year. Supervisor Bennington suggested starting earlier in 2019 with the $30,000.00 renovations so this won’t happen again. Chief Engelhart stated he hopefully can start earlier next year.

Chief Engelhart stated the Total Station is for accident reconstruction work. With Randy Tanghe retiring, his equipment is leaving with him. There will be three additional men trained in accident reconstruction and will need new equipment at the same time. If coverage is needed prior to the training, he will call someone in from another municipality.

Supervisor Groff stated he would like to see plans of the renovations as there may be some ways to save money. Supervisor Groff stated this conversation should have happened six months ago in regards to the renovations and would like to see what is being done.

Chief Engelhart stated the body cameras will go on line in about one week. There was a major hold up on policy issues. Chief Engelhart stated they have eight body cameras.

Chairman McIlhinney asked if there is a sound recorder available. Chief Engelhart stated, if needed, there is a sound recorder that measures decibels in the office if Chairman McIlhinney gets any calls about the nearby wedding venue.

Chief Engelhart stated the in-car video system is the unit itself that gets integrated with the body worn cameras, and two tasers are on a cycle to be replaced per year.

Chief Engelhart stated the new Tahoe, which is a patrol vehicle and in the 2018 budget, was ordered with a scheduled delivery date for the beginning of November.

Chairman McIlhinney suggested, as some of the officers cannot fit into the Caprices because of their equipment, give car # 36-01 and # 36-02 (Ford Explorers) to the officers and refurbish the two Caprices for the administrative staff of the police department.

Chief Engelhart stated he thought the plan was to sell the Caprices, or at least one of the Caprices, in part to pay for the up fitting of the new Tahoe.

Chairman McIlhinney stated that was the discussion but since it wasn’t moved on as to what the Caprices are worth, if anything, and since they are only in the 70,000 mile range, it would make sense to take all the emblems off of the Caprices and give them to the administrative staff.

Chief Engelhart stated the problem would be major up fitting costs for all of the equipment because none of the equipment would transfer from one vehicle to another. Cages will be needed for transfer into the patrol fleet.

Supervisor Groff asked if the Chargers are all wheel drive. Chief Engelhart stated the Chargers are rear wheel drive.

Page 5

Budget Work Session Meeting

October 24, 2018

Chief Engelhart stated the cost to up fit the Ford Explorers and put them into the fleet would cost between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00 each.

Supervisor Groff asked if Lou Bell, who is in an all-wheel drive, would be more likely to be out on the street before the Chief and the Lt. Detective. Chief Engelhart stated they all respond depending on the circumstances and the availability.

Chairman McIlhinney stated the patrol officers need to have the four wheel drive vehicles.

Chief Engelhart stated himself and the Lieutenant would not be able to respond in certain circumstances with those vehicles (the Caprices), and transfer crime scene processing equipment, cameras, etc.

Supervisor Groff stated he believes the all- wheel drive vehicles should be on the street.

Chief Engelhart stated what they are leaning towards is making most of the fleet all-wheel drive.

Chairman McIlhinney stated it makes sense that, if the officers are feeling constrained in their cars, there are two vehicles that will get them out of that constraint. He continued to state for the $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 cost per vehicle for the transfer of equipment or new equipment, it will be cheaper that buying new vehicles.

Chief Engelhart stated the Chargers are all wheel drive all of the time, his vehicle (Explorer) did well last year with the blizzard, and the Tahoe has more room than the Explorer.

Supervisor Groff reviewed the discussion from three meetings ago in regards to the Tahoe on order, and discussed the difference between the Ford Explorer and the Dodge Charger.

Chief Engelhart stated the Ford Explorer and the Dodge Charger are fairly close in price even though he hasn’t priced a Charger in a few years. He is not opposed to keeping some Chargers or an equivalent car in the fleet.

Supervisor Bennington asked what his choice of vehicle would be. Chief Engelhart stated he would be inclined to choose the Ford Explorer. Supervisor Bennington reviewed there will be one vehicle this year (Tahoe), one vehicle next year (Ford Explorer or Dodge Charger), and rehab two vehicles so that should be enough.

Chief Engelhart stated he does not agree with the pulling the two vehicles from himself and the Lieutenant, rehabbing those vehicles, and putting himself and the Lieutenant into cars that they can’t respond to readily all of the time but that is the Board of Supervisor’s decision.

It was clarified the Detective would keep one of the Explorers and anybody can take it during an emergency.

Chief Engelhart reminded the Board there was a homicide during a blizzard one time.

It was the consensus of the Board of Supervisors to look into the cost of up fitting the two Explorers for patrol vehicles and buy a new Explorer or a Charger.

Chief Engelhart stated the firearm upgrade proposal was intended for consideration for this year. He was planning on using the funds from e-ticketing that was in this year’s budget, but that is not

Page 6

Budget Work Session Meeting

October 24, 2018

going to happen due to the issue with the records management system. Chief Engelhart explained the proposed firearms have more ammunition, lighter recoil, easier training, and rounds are less expensive. Part of the department needs new holsters and upgrades, which can be done separately if they need to, but it is something that is going to happen. With newer officers coming in, now would be a good time to do the upgrade. Chief Engelhart stated new officer appointments are proposed for November 12, 2018 and December 10, 2018. Supervisor Bennington stated this is a safety issue for the officers and is important. Supervisor Groff stated he agrees on what Supervisor Bennington stated but believes they should wait and see what happens with the records management system with respect to purchasing the weapons. In regards to the records management system, Chief Engelhart stated he is in the process of getting proposals from two other vendors with the proposals in the $40,000.00 - $45,000.00 range, and, with incorporating the e-ticketing, it is up to around $60,000.00. He continued stating they will probably are going to have to do it. Supervisor Bennington stated he would like the Township to purchase the firearms. Chairman McIlhinney stated he would like to purchase the firearms for next year’s budget. Chairman Groff agreed with the purchase of the firearms next year.

Motion was made by Supervisor Bennington, seconded by Supervisor Groff and carried unanimously to authorize the advertisement of the 2019 Hilltown Township Proposed Budget. There was no public comment.


5. SUPERVISOR’S COMMENTS: Supervisor Bennington thanked Ms. Leslie for the great job with the budget.


7. ADJOURNMENT: Upon motion by Supervisor Bennington, seconded by Supervisor Groff and carried unanimously, the 2019 Budget Work Session Meeting of October 24, 2018 was adjourned at 6:10 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Lorraine E. Leslie

Township Manager/Secretary

(*NOTE: These minutes were transcribed from notes and recordings and should not be considered official until approved by the Board of Supervisors at a public meeting).

View Minutes Prior To This Listing

2014, Hilltown Township, PA. All rights reserved.

Hilltown Township
13 West Creamery Road, P.O. Box 260, Hilltown, PA 18927

Phone: 215-453-6000
Fax: 215-453-1024
Email: info@hilltown.org

Website Resources

Township Calendar