Township Council Begins 2018 Budget Process With First Hearing

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker, with microphone, speaks to the township council Feb. 12.

Requests for new equipment and new staff positions highlighted the Township Council’s first hearing for the 2018 municipal budget on Feb. 12.

This is the first of two expected hearings, during which department heads and Township Manager Robert Vornlocker appear before the council to make their case for requested money for the coming year.

Vornlocker then takes the information from the hearings to craft a suggested township budget.

The longest discussion was about the police department’s proposed budget. The department’s spending plan includs money for new investigatory software, new vehicles and an emergency shelter and equipment.

Among the items the department is asking for investigatory software costing about $6,300, nine vehicles – three unmarked cars, one Ford Expedition and five marked SUVs – to replace some that are being retired, and an idle management system township officials hope will lead to cost savings.

FTPD Lt. Kristen Durham told the council that the software – LeadsOnline – is a worldwide network of law enforcement and businesses.

“It really helps our detectives cast a wider net in their investigations, especially in stolen property,” she said.

FTPD Chief Richard Grammar told the council that during a trial period, the software helped department detectives solve “multiple crimes.”

“It’s fantastic,” he said.

The township will buy four GRIP Idle Management System units for police cars as a test, Vornlocker said.

The system is designed to allow police cars to run their electronics while the car is turned off.

Vornlocker said two of the units will be installed in new cars and two installed in cars that are used for officers’ outside work.

“If they do what we anticipate them to do, then we will buy them for all the vehicles in the police fleet,” he said. “This is a very good opportunity for us to use new technology to save money but also allow the Police Department to b as effective as they need to be and provide safety for the police officers and the work zones.”

Along the lines of energy conservation, Vornlocker said the budget would also include money to buy five electric vehciles and six charging stations.

The vehicles would be used by township inspectors, Vornlocker said. He said that the public could also use the charging stations for their private cars.

I think we will find moving forward that many of our vehicles can be replaced by electric cars,” he said.

Among the departments asking for new staff positions was Construction and Public Works.

Vincent Lupo, the tonship’s construction official, said he needs a fire sub-code inspector and a permit expediter.

The addition of the fire sub-code inspector would erase delays in plan reviews and final inspections, Vornlocker said.

Lupo said he needs the permit expediter to approve permit applications for minor projects, freeing other inspectors to concentrate on larger projects.

Public Works Manager Carl Hauck requested money for a part-time custodian and a full-time water department laborer.

He said work loads in both departments are growing to the point of justifying both hires.

Among the pieces of equipment requested by departments are two salt spreaders for public works, chair lift and HVAC replacement for the community center and replacement of high-energy lights at the municipal building.

Construction projects asked for include repair of sidewalks around the municipal building, repair of the bicycle path along John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and $2.5 million for the latest phase of road resurfacing projects, as well as the continuation of sidewalk construction on roads close to township schools.


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