Trafford Borough

Work Session- Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Trafford Borough Council held its monthly business meeting on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., in the Manchester Room

Council President, Kris Cardiff, called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence.

 (Present)             Kris Cardiff, President                                      Ed Llewellyn, Mayor                                         

                              Casey Shoub, Vice-President                          Ashely Stack, Borough Manager                   

                              Ralph Deabner, Councilman                           Nina Solivan, Asst. Manager

                              Leslie Peters, Councilwoman                         

                              Steven Perovich, Councilman         

(Absent)               Zackery Cole, Councilman  and Joshua Sanders, Councilman

Councilman Cardiff announced this meeting is for the purpose of discussing the proposed 2020 budget.


Councilman Cardiff announced the next regular council meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 7:00 PM.

A motion “to adjourn” was made by Councilman Cole and seconded by Councilman Shoub. The motion carried unanimously 7-0.

Manager Stack stated there are minor changes from the first draft budget that was given to the council at the previous council meeting. Manager Stack stated the format for this budget is the same as it has been in years past. However, next year she will be changing the format for an easier read. 

We eliminated a handful of line items to simplify and make it easier to read and understand. Therefore the 2019 budget numbers are slightly different than the ones in the proposed 2020 budget. Manager Stack stated we will now move onto the revenues. Manager Stack stated she did not include any real estate tax revenues for Bradford Square phase II as no lots have been sold at this time.  Manager Stack anticipates an increase in building permits due to Bradford Square phase II. Manager Stack stated now that Adam has all his residential certifications, he will be able to perform all the inspections and issue all permits. This revenue will now stay inhouse.  Manager Stack moved on to line item 350.00. Manager Stack stated Dr. Harris approved for us to request more money this year, which we did to cover the cost of living increase for the police and our insurance. We will be receiving $8,000.00 more for the school resource officer. Councilwoman Peters requested clarification on the $8,000.00. Manager Stack stated Dr. Harris approved an additional $8,000.00 more than we did previously.

Manager Stack stated there are a few minor things with the magistrate that increased this year. Manager Stack stated she is hoping line item 331.10 will increase with having Adam here more frequently. Adam just went to court for a bank-owned property that did not maintain their grass, public works had to go cut grass at a property. The magistrate fined the bank $4,000.00. Manager Stack stated she did not want to budget too much. She wanted to see how it goes throughout the year.

Manager Stack moved onto line item 342.20 Manchester Room Rental. Manager Stack stated there was a change from draft budget one. At the time of draft budget one we hadn't met what we budgeted for. However, we have met and exceeded that revenue. We've had a ton of last-minute rentals. We have not gotten a lot of weddings this year, but our other rentals are steady. We’ve received positive feedback about the room, which we were not previously with the cleanliness and everything else that seems to still be working out well.

Manager Stack moved onto line item 367.14 pavilion rental fees. Manager Stack stated the park rentals were up this year, so we increased them. Having somebody in the parks the morning of scheduled events has made a huge difference.  We didn't receive any complaints other than the geese and the feces in the grass, which we can't at this point, do anything about. So hopefully the decoy swans will work. They're coming in in the early spring.

Manager Stack moved onto the expenditures. Line item 401.110 salaries and wages were increased by a 3% cost of living increase. Manager Stack stated there was a previous discussion on a bonus at the end of the year after her maternity leave. Manager Stack stated we did not have an opportunity to discuss that or for council to assess it. Which is why she went with a 3% cost of living. Which is about $1,500.00. Manager Stack stated the reason the health insurance line item 401.196 Is increased is because her husband lost his and her family will now be under the borough’s policy.

Manager Stack moved onto line item 404.310. The solicitor’s fees are over our 2019 budgeted amount due to everything with 501 Cavitt Avenue. Hopefully, we won’t come close to that next year. At this point, we’re leaving it the same. 

Manager Stack moved onto 405.196.  There's a minor increase, the insurance company increases four to five percent each year under our current plan. Which is still saving us a lot of money compared to the plan that the borough used to be under with UPMC.

Councilwoman Peters questioned line item 405.199. Councilwoman Peters questioned if the life insurance is new or if it was previously lumped into a different line item.

Manager Stack stated the borough is required to provide life insurance per the employee handbook along with the collective bargaining agreement and hadn't been doing so prior to her employment.

Manager Stack moved onto line item 406.352. This is a line item that was spread out under other line items which we decided to condense. This is why it looks so drastic because it was taken out of other line items in other departments. Line item 406.361 electricity we did not factor in the distribution charges. We spoke to the supplier and Duquesne Light if we would proceed with that contract Duquesne light said that the distribution charges remain the same. There would be a savings of $1,400.00 a year if we entered that agreement with the supplier. We did not factor that in here. Manager Stack stated she’d like to see how it goes this year before counting on those cost savings.

Councilwoman Peters stated the quoted kilowatt per hour is 0.06, what is our current rate?

Manager Stack stated she did not. APE Energy had it broken down showing us what the cost savings would be due to the increase. Manager Stack stated no she did not do anything further. When the meeting was held, it was passed as long as the distribution charges were not in addition to, that we were going to proceed with it.

Councilwoman Peters stated I think we need to look at that because that was not her understanding. Manager Stack stated she will check on the kilowatt per hour.

Councilwoman Peters stated $1,400.00 is a lot. However, if we could pick away at 10 things that are about $1,400.00 and add them back to our revenue or cost savings, that makes more sense.

Manager Stack stated she agrees; however, Duquesne Light’s fees are still going to increase by eight cents by December 1, 2019. We would see at least a minimum of $1,400.00 in savings once that increased.

Councilwoman Peters stated I thought we would hold off until we found out.

Councilman Perovich stated while we’re on the subject of utilities, what is going on with line item 406.366? Manager Stack stated we were discussing this today. We don't know if there was a leak. We've had several issues with toilets in the Manchester Room and the lobby. The issues down in the lobby don’t always get reported right away, which contributes to increased water consumption.

Councilwoman Peters stated she has a question regarding section 411.366. Manager Stack questioned if we could wait until we get to that section. Councilwoman Peters stated that is fine.

Councilman Cardiff questioned line item 406.229. Councilman Cardiff questioned what this is used for and why has it gone up. Manager Stack stated anytime we hold interviews, staff meetings, meetings with other municipalities, any training sessions or continued education classes. They are provided lunch and placed under this line item. Manager Stack stated when she first started oftentimes, she would pay out of pocket. It wasn’t budgeted before and we wanted to make sure it was.

Councilman Cardiff questioned the increase in telephone monthly charges, line item 406.321. Manager Stack stated we switched over to Comcast’s Business Voice system we did not know where we were going to be at with the last budget. Now we do and it is not great. 

Manager Stack brought up wireless charges. She mentioned she will be looking into other service providers and comparing costs to see if there are any other possible savings. We currently have Sprint and the service is sometimes sketchy. Councilwoman Peters stated she noticed wireless charges under 401, 409, and 410. Councilwoman Peters questioned if these are business-409only cell phones? Councilwoman Peters stated we’re not paying someone's personal phone bill correct.

Manager Stack stated the phones are for work purposes, individuals have their own personal phones.

Councilwoman Peters stated she has three phones on her personal plan and only pays $1,200.00 per year with Verizon and the borough is paying $4,500.00 per year. She mentioned there could be some tweaking.

Councilwoman Peters questioned how many lines are there total? Manager Stack stated 10-12 wireless phones.

Councilman Cardiff stated there is a $10,000.00 increase under capital purchases 406.750. Manager Stack stated that is for the items that were budgeted last year that we were unable to do due to 501 Cavitt Avenue. We were planning on purchasing a new server, and cameras.

Manager Stack stated Engineering services, 408.313, they are staying the same.

Manager Stack stated Public works wages 409.112, are going to be the same with a cost of living increases there. Uniform allowance 409.186 stays the same.

Capital construction 409.650 is for the purchase of a new salt shed. We also included the Inwood Road, Mary Street, and Homewood Avenue CDBG matching grant project, and the 2020 paving project.

Councilwoman Peters questioned line item 409.231, and 409.232. Do we only spend $4,700.00 a year in gas and diesel? Manager Stack replied and stated that is just for the public works department.  Councilwoman Peters questioned why it’s being increased by $200.00. Manager Stack stated you just never know with the price of gas. Councilwoman Peters questioned if the vehicles are being used for public works related items only? Manager Stack stated yes for public works.

They don't just go home and have lunch or breaks or anything like that. In other municipalities people do take cars home, our employees do not take vehicles home.

Councilman Deabner questioned 409.321. Manager Stack stated that's Comcast. We switched from basic business to business voice. Which was supposed to be saving us money however, there haven’t been any savings at all.  Last year I budgeted way too ambitiously because we were supposed to see a savings. Councilman Perovich questioned if Comcast provides both internet and phone service. Manager Stack stated yes also television. Councilman Perovich stated that the television service should be free. Manager Stack stated we get one television service free for the entire borough.

Manager Stack moved onto 410.197 police pension. The police pension has increased because we now have five full-time officers.  This coming year 2020 according to their collective bargaining agreement they will be contribution 1% of their wages into their pension which is reflected in the budget.

Manager Stack moved onto 410.750 capital purchases. This includes the purchase of a new police vehicle and the annual payment for the other vehicle loan.

Councilwoman Peters questioned line item 410.241 general government supplies. Manager Stack stated tires, citations, and the department’s annual maintenance fee for their reporting system which is $2,200.00 per year.

Councilwoman Peters questioned line item 410.450 contracted services. What does this include?

Manager Stack stated this is where we place many of the services or supplies, for example, the Xerox machine, car washing services, stopwatch testing, special legal services per the CBA, etc.

Manager Stack moved on to 412.000. Penn Township Ambulance requested a $1,000.00 increase.

Manager Stack moved on to 413.115. Previously we had two code enforcement officers at the rate of $600.00 per month. We now have one part-time employee at the rate of $25.00/hr. We also have Mike Stack to cover any commercial permits until our current code officer receives his certificates. Mike Stack receives a stipend of $300.00/month.  Line item 413.450 has decreased significantly because we were sending all our building permits to CEA. All that money was going to CEA and will now be kept inhouse because our code officer can handle all residential permits. Councilman Perovich questioned if both Adam and Mike were getting paid $46,000.00. Manager Stack stated no. This includes Adam’s hourly rate and mike Stack’s monthly stipend. This is based on 32 hours a week for the year just because the way things have been going right now, we're using Adam. He’s bringing money into the borough. He's doing what he needs to do, and he is covered in the revenues that he's been bringing in. The reason why it's so drastic is that before we only had Adam and Mark here a few hours a week and that was what that former amount was based on.

Manager Stack moved on to 413.210. The six-hundred-dollar increase is for a new computer.  The current computer is over a decade old.

Councilwoman Peters stated we skipped over section 411. Manager Stack stated we did not have any major changes. Workers’ comp was less than anticipated in 2019 due to starting with a new provider. Councilwoman Peters questioned line item 411.035. Manager Stack stated that is the pass-through account for the Foreign Fire Insurance money.

Manager Stack moved onto Planning and Zoning section 414. Manager Stack stated the borough spent a total of $6,800.00 on attorney fees, advertisements, and the sonographer. Which does not include postage. Manager Stack stated she will be making changes to the fee schedule to state the applicant must pay all additional fees above the application fee.

Manager Stack moved on to Emergency Management and Communications section 415.

Manager Stack stated we now have an EMC who receives a monthly stipend of $200.00 per month. Which increased line item 415.115 by $2,400.00. Line item 415.241 General Government Supplies are supplies to set up the EOC properly, which is almost complete.

 Manager Stack stated as far as emergency funds, we decided the best place to place the funding was line item 415.317.  This line item would strictly be used for emergency situations or court orders like 501 Cavitt Avenue.

Manager Stack moved onto section 419 Other Public Safety. This is the school crossing guards. There were two minor changes pertaining to workers’ compensation and unemployment.

Manager Stack moved onto section 422.310 Vector.  This is our contracted animal catcher. With a $300.00 increase.

Manager Stack moved onto section 432 Winter Maintenance. Mainly the same, however, it is all weather dependent.

Manager Stack moved onto section 446 Storm Water Management. The increase is due to a few MS4 projects that we will need to complete to comply with the consent and to alleviate extreme water runoff. The projects which we’ve previously discussed are in the Belleau Wood Blvd area and behind the South Trafford Ball Fields. As for the Belleau Wood Blvd project, we’re going to have to install a larger pipe to handle the heavy flow.

Manager Stack moved onto section 451 Recreation. Manager Stack stated this is what the Recreation Board presented to council and everything they included within their budget.

Manager Stack moved onto section 454 Parks. Manager Stack stated this section is for the playground employees and anything related to the parks.

Manager Stack moved on to section 456 Libraries. Manager Stack stated the repair supplies have decreased. Again, it just depends on what needs to be repaired and if there's an issue.

Manager Stack moved onto section 459 Manchester Room. Manager Stack stated everything's staying the same. The contracted services line item 459.450 was not as expensive as anticipated so that is why they have been decreased. That number can change If we have more rentals.

Councilwoman Peters questioned if there is a company that comes in to clean the Manchester Room. Manager Stack stated yes, Partners in Grime.

Councilwoman Peters questioned if they are paid a flat fee.

Manager Stack stated yes. They clean the Manchester Room, the lobby, the lobby restrooms, and the Police Department. We do not have them clean the administrative offices. The nice thing about having a company is someone can always cover rather than a one-man crew. They come in on late nights or early mornings. We tried to hire for the position, but nothing worked out.

Councilwoman Peters questioned what line item the recodification allocation is under. Manager Stack stated it is under 406.450 general government contracted services. It would be an annual fee of $1,500.00 for any updates. Councilwoman Peters stated she just wanted to make sure the funds were incorporated for the group’s list of changes. Manager Stack stated once those items have been brought before council and have been advertised depending on how many changes there are the price may increase.  Councilwoman Peters stated she and Councilman Perovich are anxious to get those changes made. Manager Stack stated Adam Hlad has also been keeping a list of discrepancies because he runs into them frequently. Maybe he could be incorporated into the next meeting. 

Manager Stack moved onto the sewage budget. Manager Stack stated revenue item 362.440 sewage permits have increased due to Bradford Square Phase II

Manager Stack moved onto revenue section 364.10 Sewage Charges. This revenue is all dependent upon usage.

Manager stack stated there are no anticipated tap in fees for line item 364.11. Maronda paid for 16 Bradford Square Phase II laterals in 2018.

Manager Stack moved onto line item 364.15 Debt Service Charge for PennVest. This will remain the same.

Councilman Perovich questioned what the remaining balance is on the PennVest loan. Manager Stack stated she does not have the current balance however the borough pays $9,056.00 a month. On the last page of the sewage budget, you will see that the borough pays $108,646.00 per year for the loan but only receives approximately $100,000.00. In the future, the fee will need to be increased.

Manager Stack stated she will get the remaining balance due and email to all on council.

Manager Stack moved onto section 429.112 salaries and wages. The increases are the cost of living increases. Next year line item 429.180 will be removed. The way we reimburse the general fund currently is 50% across the board for wages, healthcare, and pension. Councilwoman Peters questioned if this line item is for public works when they work on the sewer? Manager Stack stated it is for public works, Nina and herself.

Manager Stack moved onto 429.352 liability. Manager Stack stated this is another line item that was removed and placed back into the general fund.

Manager Stack moved onto 429.364 sewer. Manager Stack stated ALCOSAN requires the borough to budget for 120%. ALCOSAN provides us a letter with the amount we need to budget for which was $707,000.00. We will not hit that amount. It’s just a requirement.

Manager Stack moved onto line item 429.650. Manager Stack stated the increase is for the Inwood Road sewer project which was awarded for $190,000.00. 

Councilwoman Peters questioned what line item 429.450 is for. Manager Stack stated this line item is for any outside services, for example, Penn Township Sewage Authority for camera services and billing, for any repairs that cannot be made inhouse, etc.

Councilman Cardiff questioned why line item 429.368 is doubled. Assistant Manager Solivan stated the current escrow payouts this year are $24,948.00. This number is dependent upon usage and home sales.

Councilman Perovich questioned when a sewer lateral inspection performed where the funds go. Manager Stack stated it goes into the sewage fund under line item 362.440, sewage permits.

Councilwoman Peters questioned if the total expenditures in the sewage budget are negative $281,311.00.

Manager Stack stated no. That coulomb shows the difference between the 2019 and 2020 budget. It is showing the total expenditures for 2020 is $281,311.00 more than the 2019 expenditures.

Councilman Perovich questioned if anyone knew the amount of delinquencies for sewage payments. Assistant Borough Manager Solivan stated the delinquent rate per quarter is around 10%. Councilman Perovich questioned what dollar figure that amounts to. 

Manager Stack stated while Nina looks that up, the total collected amount yesterday was $74,000.00 because it was the due date.  Manager Stack stated when people pay through their banks it takes five to ten business days before it gets to us. People call all the time and say you didn't cash my check and we let them know we didn't get your check yet. Councilwoman Peters questioned if there will be an online payment option. Manager Stack stated she will be looking into that.   Councilman Cardiff stated it was something that's been investigated in the past, but they charge you a percentage it's just about trying to find the best value. Manager Stack stated Penn Township just started a new online payment method last year. We will be coordinating with them to get that in the works.

Councilman Perovich stated he is interested in the collection success rate and how long we let the delinquencies ride.  Assistant Manager Solivan stated the previous round of billing there were 210 postings, which means 210 properties did not pay. Currently, for our current period, there is an outstanding balance of $101,616.00. for a total of 303 properties. Once the next ten business days have passed there’s a $50.00 fee and those who have not paid will be posted, which is around 10% of total properties. The borough is required to post the properties, send a letter via US Mail, and keep a record on file. So, for the last round of billing a total of 630 pieces of paper and manpower were wasted. Manager Stack added and you get irate phone calls because something was posted on their door.

Carol Richardson questioned if public works employees also do the sewage. Manager Stack stated yes. Mrs. Richardson questioned if they’re getting paid two different rates, as they are under two sections of the budget. Mrs. Richardson questioned what’s the procedure for which job.

Manager Stack stated when speaking with other municipalities they break it down by percentage. We have a small staff, and everything is broken down by 50 percent. They are paid at the same rate. All is paid out of the general fund and quarterly we will reimburse the general fund from the sewage fund for those wages.

Mrs. Richardson questioned why section 413 has increased by $17,000.00. Manager Stack stated the contracted services have decreased significantly due to having a part-time code officer here for 32 hours a week who can handle all residential building permits. The wages are Adam’s hourly rate and Mike Stacks’ monthly stipend. The monthly stipend will end when Adam has obtained his commercial certifications. The borough was sending all the permits to CEA and none of that money was being kept inhouse. All the revenues will now be kept in house and back into the general fund.

Brian Lindbloom questioned if the borough will be converting to LED lighting as Duquesne Light replaces burnt-out bulbs. Councilman Shoub stated the program is terrible it is very complicated to explain you’d have to see for yourself. You cannot just pick and choose which light you’d like to have. They all have to be in sections of 10.

Councilwoman Peters questioned the proper protocol for out street lights. Councilman Shoub stated you will get a faster response from them calling as a citizen rather than the municipal side. In the olden days, they had an employee who was strictly just for street lights. Councilman Shoub stated he will have to report the same light three times over before someone gets to it. The outage reports go into a pile and someone will get to it when they have downtime.

Councilman Perovich questioned of the borough pays for waste removal. Councilman Shoub stated in the contract with the borough they provide service to the borough free of charge. The only thing we pay for is one roll-off dumpster behind public works. They also include free of charge the eight dumpsters for cleanup days. Manager Stack stated we were being charged for recycling contamination. Councilwoman Peters questioned when items are taken for scrap during cleanup days where that money goes. Manager Stack stated when tires are collected, they charge a fee to the residents and then turn that fee over to wherever the tires are deposited. Assistant Borough Manager Solivan stated they oftentimes purchase food for themselves during the cleanup days event.

Councilwoman Peters questioned how much money ends up being made. Lou Corrales stated sometimes $400.00. Councilman Shoub stated that’s a rare year. It depends on the scrap metal price. It is $10.00 per 100 pounds of scrap. Councilman Shoub stated we end up losing money when people sneak shit in at night. Lou stated while cleaning up the culvert on Murrysville Road there was a total of 42 tires pulled out. So, we had to take money out of there to get rid of those.  

Councilman Cardiff asked if there were any additional questions pertaining to the budget.

Manager Stack questioned where the candy throw zone is located for the parade. Councilwoman Peters stated in front of the borough building. Brian Lindbloom stated the idea is to get people off of the bridge. Parents hold children on their shoulders, there is no fencing it just makes me nervous. We’d like for people to be closer to the carolers.

Councilwoman Peters questioned if anyone is planning on baking or bringing cookies. Manager Stack stated she will be bringing a few dozen. Manager Stack stated there is an event the night before, but the key will be on the board.

The meeting concluded at 8:15 p.m.