Letter to the Editor:
In an effort to provide Franklin Township residents with greater transparency and a better understanding of the budget, I have spent some time reviewing the non-Open Space Funds balance by comparing the Sept. 30, 2013 amount with the September 30, 2012 figure. This was brought to my attention by former township Supervisor Dick Whipple, who sends e-mails to fellow residents to push his agenda. In an Oct. 11 "Franklin Township update" the e-mail pointed to a balance that was $117,570 less than the previous year.
So with the help of township personnel and certain supervisors who have often been accused of lacking transparency, I took an in depth review of the differences that have factored into the change in the cash balance. Working in the investment industry for over twenty years, this type of analysis is what I do on a daily basis in reviewing corporate balance sheets. However, first it is important to understand that the amount of cash available can change quite dramatically from quarter to quarter let alone from year to year.
The largest difference in revenues comes from significantly less assistance from both the federal government (FEMA) and the State of Pennsylvania (PEMA). During the first nine months of 2012, Franklin township received money due to the damage associated with Hurricane Irene. The difference between the two years was approximately $70,000.
On the expense side, there are a few outliers worth pointing out. Franklin Township has spent nearly $30,000 more in 2013 for maintenance and repair and inlet repair. The township is in the process of doing a thorough review of our roads to upgrade them by fixing issues that were not properly addressed under previous township leadership.Once repaired and done so properly, expenses associated with this category should return to a more normalized level. A second expense item to highlight is related to the material and labor for snow/ice removal. The difference between the 2013 and 2012 balances is approximately $18,000. More money was spent to clear our streets earlier this year than the in 2012. Also, the township is currently ready for any inclement weather that may hit us in the near future with a fairly large amount of salt in inventory. Finally, in 2013 Franklin Township has incurred one-time fees related to a federally mandated Storm Water Ordinance and legal fees associated with the dismantling of the barn located near the township building.
In summary, the differences are based on timing of money given to us from FEMA and PEMA, new stormwater regulations, being sued by "save the barn" faction and road program expenses.
Much of the budgetary information shared with you in this letter can be found on the township website. I found the township staff and supervisors Auerbach and Schenk very helpful in this review.
Steffen J. Torres
Candidate for Franklin Township supervisor