Orange Twp. approves $24.3M budget for 2018

By D. Anthony Botkin - [email protected]

Orange Township trustees approved a $24.3 million budget for 2018.

Township Administrator Lee Bodnar said the 2017 budget was $25.5 million.

The board met with township department heads Nov. 29 to examine possible cuts to which Trustee Rob Quigley said, “What I would say is that you really need to go back and sharpen your pencil.”

Bodnar presented the revised budget to trustees Monday night.

“There has been a reduction of $359,000,” he said. “Two mainline items were reduced; 1000-110 was reduced by $328,000 and the building subtotal is reduced by $31,000, which again totals $359,000.”

In the Nov. 29 meeting, Quigley asked staff to go back and take another look at the amount spent on legal counsel and “take more advantage of the prosecutor’s office” to reduce the budget. At that time legal fees from the township’s general fund were projected at $180,000 for 2018.

“To the point that I made earlier, we increased legal fees $10,000. I think if we increase it somewhere we need to decrease it somewhere to make it even,” Quigley said Monday. “My recommendation would be if you’re going to increase zoning by $10,000 than decrease it under the general budget.”

Bodnar made the recommended change and trustees unanimously approved the budget.

“My recommendation to the board is still to utilize the prosecutor’s office more,” Quigley said.

Attending the meeting at the request of Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien was Prosecuting Attorney Mark Fowler. He said he didn’t see the township becoming a hardship on the prosecutor’s office if they were to take advantage of its services.

“Prosecutor O’Brien sent me today because she wanted me to avail myself to you,” he said. “We’re more than willing to do whatever you need.”

Trustee Lisa Knapp said during the Nov. 29 meeting she wasn’t in favor of using the prosecutor’s office more due to past experiences with them.

Fowler told the board the prosecutor’s office is busy, but recently added a new attorney who would help lighten the workload.

Knapp seemed satisfied with Fowler’s answer.

In other business, trustees approved the appointment of Jeffery Beard to the full-time, non-union position of Zoning Enforcement Officer. He will be compensated at a pay rate of $22 per hour plus the standard township employee benefits package starting Dec. 22.

Fire Chief Matt Noble asked the board’s approval to advance three lieutenants to the rank of captain and appoint three firefighters/paramedics to the rank of lieutenant.

“This is to finish up a project we’ve been working on for a couple of years of getting captains instituted into the department,” he said. “These are all internal promotions.”

Noble said they will be sworn in after the first of the year. Trustees unanimously approved the promotions.

Noble also presented a bill from Rush Truck Center in the amount of $4,859 for repairs to a department vehicle.

“Medic 361 needed a new computer for the motor,” he said.

He also presented a bill for $4,530 from Bound Tree Medical for EMS Supplies.

“We need to build up our supply to get us through until the books open the first of the year,” he said.

The board approved both payments.

Trustees approved a payment to the Shelly Company in the amount of $511,242 for the 2017 Road Improvement Program. Road Maintenance and Parks Director Beth Hugh told trustees it was the first payment.

“We’re still negotiating with some issues on RO Park so there will be one final payment,” she said.

For the Parks Department, the board approved a pay application for Trucco Construction for work on North Road Park in the amount of $152,628.

By D. Anthony Botkin

[email protected]

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.