At Lawrence’s Township Council meeting on May 1, the council and residents discussed the newly formed Citizens Advisory Committee’s progress and the ordinance to consolidate the current Greenway Advisory Committee and the Open Space and Stewardship Advisory Committee.
The Citizens Advisory Committee, which was formed at the last council meeting in April – at the request of three residents who willingly volunteered their professional services to take a more detailed look at the 2012 municipal budget – has made considerable progress, according to Township Manager Richard Krawczun.
“We’ve had a very professional dialogue,” Krawczun said. “It’s been a very cooperative environment. There has been a lot of exchange of information, both as we have provided it and as the volunteers have taken a lot of the data and rearranged it in a fashion that we could look at a lot of questions, from the financial side and an operation side.”
Krawczun further explained the council and the three volunteers have talked about the budget in a lot of detail, which includes individual line items of appropriations.
“We have left it where the three volunteers provided us a list of possible suggestions, with three scenarios – best case, worst case and base case – on various appropriations,” he said. “And, we’ve tried to address each of those individually and at the same time, we provided a response to a number of individual questions to their original set of inquiries.”
He also said that budget deadlines were discussed in the last meeting.
“There is no specific deadline for adoption of the budget,” Krawczun said. “That’s a lot different than what we have gone through in the last couple of weeks with the school board budget. Statutorily, they have deadlines that are required for action. The municipal budget doesn’t have the same set of strict dates.”
Before Krawczun moves forward with amending the municipal budget, he said he needs the council’s recommendations in order to proceed. That hasn’t yet happened.
After looking over the proposals provided from the Citizens Advisory Committee, Krawczun needs to know what levels of service to maintain, what levels of surplus funds to keep and/or take out of the budget, and if there are any other items such as user fees or other revenue changes that the council wants to suggest.
Councilman Greg Puliti and Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis agreed with Krawczun on the sub-committee’s headway.
“We went through a lot of paper and had two lengthy meetings, and it was very engaging,” Puliti said.
Krawczun suggested to the council that he and the Citizens Advisory Committee meet once again after the council discusses the current suggestions provided so that they can conclude the consultations.
Aside from the sub-committee, the majority of residents who attended opposed the merging of the current Greenway Advisory Committee and the Open Space and Stewardship Committee, and wanted the motion to be tabled.
The council wants to adopt an ordinance to merge the two committees for the sake of utilizing volunteer services as a part of one productive unit opposed to two.
Currently, each statutory committee consists of five members. The suggested consolidation proposes the new committee, which would be designated as the Greenway, Open Space and Stewardship Advisory Committee, consist of six regular members and one appointed representative.
The ordinance was tabled at the request of the residents and will be further discussed at the next council meeting on May 15.