CLEARFIELD – The Lawrence Township Board of Supervisors reached tentative agreements regarding many aspects of its 2013 budget, including its police department funding, upon reviewing new information Thursday night at its second budget workshop meeting this week.
The supervisors anticipate total revenue in the amount of $2,336,616. This revenue figure doesn’t include the township’s expected Act 13 Marcellus Shale impact fee funding. Supervisors Glenn Johnston and Edward Brown were informed by Treasurer Barbara Shaffner that the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) required them to include the Act 13 funds in the budget.
The supervisors had approached the budget with the assumption of a near worst case scenario. They assumed the police millage ballot question would be voted down during the Nov. 6 General Election. In addition, they excluded the Marcellus Shale impact fee funding, which has not been distributed by the state.
Lawrence Township is supposed to receive $970,310 in impact fee funding that’s tentatively scheduled to be distributed in December. The supervisors must not only budget for this amount, but also for an unspecified amount due to them in July. The supervisors assumed a 40 percent reduction next year, bringing the total to be budgeted to $1,528,600. They debated about how to utilize this funding before compromising.
The supervisors agreed that approximately $500,000 would be set aside in a capital fund to aid the police department over five years, as needed. They agreed that $250,000 would be put toward paying off debt related to safety equipment, which, in turn, would lead to additional savings in interest not earned. Finally, approximately $300,000 would be invested in road and bridge repairs. The remainder would be placed in the township’s capital fund.
Shaffner presented the supervisors with four plans regarding its police funding. They assumed the millage ballot question would not pass, not wanting to exceed previous funding amounts. They discussed having a meeting after the election to adjust the budget regarding the police department funding in case the citizens wanted to improve the force.
Each plan began assuming at least the current level of police staffing; the current plan costs the township $816,616. After reviewing the options, the supervisors decided on the fourth one that would potentially hire an outside chief as well as maintain the current staff of police officers. This option costs $935,765.
Johnston also mentioned the possibility of promoting one of the seven full-time officers to chief while also hiring a part-time officer.