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Antrim Township Supervisors continue budget talk

Renovating township building and restarting plan to save for police force added to discussion

Renovating township building and restarting plan to save for police force added to discussion

October 21, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors continued discussing the 2010 budget Tuesday, debating many critical expenditures.

Township Administrator Brad Graham said no major changes in expenditures have yet been proposed by staff, but the supervisors added renovating the township building and restarting its plan to save for a police force to the discussion Tuesday night.

Suggesting a $500,000 addition to facilities expenditures, Supervisor Rick Baer said the road crew needs a space where it can meet without interruption. Likewise, the restrooms need to be handicapped-accessible.

Supervisor Fred Young balked at Baer's estimate to complete the renovation, but agreed with the project.

The board asked Graham to explore options for renovating the building once Magisterial District Justice Duane Cunningham moves his office, a move recommended by the 2008 management study by Dhillon Management Services of California.

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Steering discussion to expenditures and away from payroll, Graham led the two hours of discussion often with vague references such as "number 409/450" or by saying "next item" or "this."

No copies of the 2009 budget or actual 2009 numbers were provided to help the public follow the discussion.

"It would be nice to see what they are looking at," said Dianne Smith, one of only a few residents at the meeting.

It was not the board's intent to keep the public in the dark, said Board Chairman Curtis Myers, quickly offering copies of his papers.

While Graham said he was uneasy handing out "flexible" figures to the public, he emphasized that some numbers might change for 2010 as discussions progress.

One such number, he said, is the amount budgeted for future police services.

Cut from the 2009 budget, Supervisor Sam Miller advocated adding the money back, saying, "sooner or later, we will need a police force whether you like it or not."

Myers suggested moving the line item where, for three years, the board of supervisors has stashed $200,000, to be part of the emergency services expenditures.

Lumping the savings with other public safety expenses could lead to the money going elsewhere, Miller said.

"There is no way to hold the future board accountable," he said.

The board began its annual budget work sessions in early October with a general overview. It will continue discussions in November.

Supervisor James Byers was absent.

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