CLEARFIELD – The Lawrence Township Board of Supervisors began working through its preliminary budget Tuesday night during the first of two meetings this week. The board is currently assuming the status quo is going to remain the same in 2013.
However, its budget could potentially require revision if township voters accept the six-mill increase for a separate fund for the police department during the Nov. 6 General Election. In addition, it would need adjustments once the township has received its Marcellus Shale impact fee funding from the state.
Interim Police Chief Mark Brooks presented three possible plans for the current police department. Under the first plan, it would keep the seven, full-time employees with a department budget of $815,999.
The second plan would allow the department to hire two part-time officers who wouldn’t work more than 32 hours each per week. This would increase the department budget to $869,079, said Brooks.
He said the third plan would allow the department to hire three part-time officers who also wouldn’t work more than the previously said hours each per week. The final plan would bring the department’s budget total to $896,344.
In other discussion, the supervisors budgeted employee benefits at $114,000. The supervisors assumed an average of $500 per employee co-pay during the year.
As part of an agreement with the employees, the township pays their co-pays under its new insurance plan. This is cheaper than its previous plan, which would’ve increased in cost by 25 percent. Of that, the township would’ve paid 10 percent with the rest being passed onto the employees, according to the supervisors.
The supervisors debated over the amount to be set aside for capital expenses for new vehicles.
Supervisor William Lawhead suggested that the township purchase a grater. However, Supervisor Chairman Glenn Johnston protested the need for a full-sized grater. The supervisors tossed around costs that ranged from $100,000 – $200,000 for even a used grater.
There was also discussion among the supervisors about handling the township’s aging computer hardware. The supervisors added $1,500 to the administrative supply budget for a replacement computer.
Supervisor Edward Brown proposed a server with terminal stations. He said this would have a higher upfront cost to the township but would replace all the existing computers with noticeably cheaper upgrades. He said it would last longer than a more typical computer.