SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
No new hires.
And a tax hike.
That's the word from the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners concerning the proposed 2014 township budget.
The new taxes are to plug a projected 2014 budget deficit.
Commissioners discussed the budget, plus the financial impact of hiring new employees at a special Nov. 14 workshop lasting three hours.
The police department requested the promotion of an officer to become a second detective and the hiring of a new police officer.
The public works department requested the hiring of a mechanic and an equipment operator.
At the Nov. 14 workshop, Director of Public Works John Andreas presented his request for two additional personnel, as well as for equipment purchases.
Andreas said the township public works department was at its peak staffing in 2007 with 15 employees. The department was down to 12 employees in 2012.
The department now has one mechanic. Previously, there were two mechanics. There is one custodian.
"Our demands have constantly grown through the years," Andreas said.
The department requested a mechanic, at an annual salary of about $43,700, and an equipment operator, at an annual salary of about $40,000. The salaries do not include benefits.
Referring to his department's reduced staffing, Andreas said, "That affects our ability to serve the residents of Salisbury Township.
"Thankfully, we didn't have a rough winter," Andreas said of the 2011-2012 winter season.
"When you get into emergency situations, it's going to be important that you're fully staffed," Andreas said.
Commissioners, by consensus at the Nov. 14 workshop, are prepared to offer retirement incentives to three public works employees. Savings are expected to be realized if new employees are hired at lower entry-level salaries.
In public works department capital requests, commissioners said they'd approve the purchase of a one-ton pickup truck, to cost $25,000, to replace a 2002 "hand-me-down truck," and a utility truck, to cost $52,500, but to be paid equally from water and sewer funds.
A dump truck, to cost $110,000, to replace a 1995 model, is not being approved.
A tandem vibratory roller, to cost $18,000, seems likely to be purchased, to replace a 1989 model that was not repairable and was scrapped.
A street sweeper, to cost $175,000, is also on the approval list, because $100,000 of its cost will be paid with liquid fuels tax funds.
Salisbury Township Assistant Manager-Director of Finance Cathy Bonaskiewich said the balance in the township sewer fund is being depleted.
Bonaskiewich said that, while the water fund balance is at about $1.2 million, the sewer fund balance is less than $1 million.
Andreas said residential water meters, last replaced in 1995, will need to be replaced because the equipment has a use life of about 20 years. "Around the corner, we're going to look at a hefty capital expense," Andreas said.
A correlator, to cost $40,000, was discussed. It is used to detect water breaks. "It's a priority," Andreas said, noting, "The Meadowbrook area is actually very high in breaks." He said new, improved iron pipes are installed as needed.
Andreas presented a diagram to commissioners, depicting use of the public works building, a portion of which is being proposed for police department materials storage use.
"It displaces a lot of stuff and we don't have space now," Andreas said.
The proposed budget includes $40,000 for a pole barn to be built in Franko Farm Park for possible equipment and-or police materials storage.