Antrim expenses outpace income in first review

PAT FRIDGEN

At first glance, Antrim Township will be operating in the red in 2011. A short roster of supervisors met Nov. 16 to look at numbers for next year's budget.

Administrator Brad Graham met with Rick Baer and James Byers to evaluate the expected revenue and expenses for municipal operations, including the sewer system. Fred Young III, Sam Miller and Curtis Myers were absent.

Revenue for the general fund was estimated at $3,052,257 and expenditures at $3,316,375 for a loss of $264,118. However, Graham said several line items were not yet plugged in. He hoped for  additional grant money for the Shared Use Trail and secretary Mary Klein said the township could realistically expect $100,000 in interest from its accounts. Then the negative number would be $126,118.

Graham  said there were still "significant" expenses not determined, including improvement costs for Coseytown and Maryland Line roads, which supervisors wanted to do. No figures were back on engineering Hykes Road so it could be reclaimed in 2012.

On the sewer side, revenue was set at $2,511,100 and expenses at $2,844,794. Once more, interest income was not factored in to the $333,000 deficit spending. Sewer tap fees were estimated at $190,000, similar as for 2010, but less than half of even a couple years ago.

Details

Graham said the township should get money for some trail work. Funds due this year would come next year, with one rejected claim resubmitted and four new requests sent. If money was not awarded toward paving the trail, that would not be done. Antrim will soon have to offer more recycling options according to state mandates, he also warned.

The budget included pay increases of three percent for employees, and salary for a public works director, not yet hired.

Looking at ways to cut, Baer and Byers agreed a new $72,000 pole shed on the municipal grounds could go, as well as a $50,000 lift for the maintenance garage. With $350,000 set aside for building renovations, Graham said most were cosmetic, but new windows should yield good energy savings.

"Do we want to bite the bullet and cut it back farther?" he asked.

Byers reiterated that his only priority was to upgrade the bathrooms, with the site connecting to public sewer, and utilizing the space vacated by the District Justice office last January.

Graham said sewer spending could only be reduced by trimming the major planned projects of replacing a $110,000 generator at the plant, putting new roofs on two buildings, replacing some components to the UV system, and conducting camera surveillance inspections of the lines.

To balance, the choice was to tap into reserves or raise sewer rates. Baer was reluctant to do the latter, but Graham will come back with the effects of a $4.50 per quarter increase.

Turn on the lights

Graham informed the two that when Allegheny Power raised its electrical rates in 2010 for street lights in the township, Antrim did not pass that along to customers in State Line, Shady Grove, Greenway, Colonial Drive and Woodlawn. However, surplus in the account could not continue to cover the deficit income. He hoped to have the board act on an increase of up to $2 per quarter, but due to lack of a quorum, the matter had to be postponed.