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Warminster official credits taking loan, keeping municipal authority for better finances


At the end of 2020, Warminster Township had nearly a $3.8 million deficit. It responded by taking out a loan, a move that officials credit with largely turning things around.

Under the 2nd Class Township Code, townships are responsible for many services to the public. These include: public safety, land use and environmental protection. These services cost money, so it’s important for a municipality to have a solid plan when it comes to its financing and expenses.

In 2019, then Chairman of the Board Kenneth M. Hayes did something extraordinary, according to current Chairwoman Kathy Frescatore.

“It was Ken who had the foresight to encourage the township to take out a loan, which is now accruing interest. By investing this interest, it has been for the benefit of the residents” and “it is his leadership that has set us on this positive financial path,” she said in a phone interview.

Earlier this month, Hayes was asked about the decision to take on debt. In response, he said: “As a $34 million ‘corporation’, it’s okay for a township to have some debt,” as that is the way you manage the services for the residents in a “fiscally responsible manner.”

Frescatore further elaborated that it was the combination of hiring of “fiscally responsible” Township Manager Tom Scott; not selling “valuable assets such as the municipal authority” under her watch; and cutting back on spending that helped right the ship.

She specifically thanked Timothy Hagey, general manager of the Warminster Municipal Authority, at the Feb. 1 meeting for all the work he and his staff are doing for the township, saying she was proud that the township and authority are now working in tandem toward mutual goals.

Specifically by keeping the municipal authority under the auspices of the township instead of selling it to a third party provider, the township is able to conduct the following for its residents: acquire, hold, construct, maintain, operate, own or lease, either in the capacity of lessor or lessee, waterworks, water supply works and water distribution systems for the purpose of supplying water to the residents and is further authorized to perform stormwater planning, management and implementation for the Township of Warminster.

In addition to taking on debt, hiring the new manager and tightening its spending, John Ramey, recently hired finance director, has employed what he calls “a better exchange of information,” with the supervisors, including what is now a monthly finance report.

It is provided at board meetings and made available to the public on the website.

“This [report] is important so that the board can make better financial decisions knowing they have current and correct numbers,” Ramey said in an email. He also agreed with Hayes about municipalities having some debt and gave a real world example: “If the township borrows money to pave a street, then whoever is living there is paying the debt, but also benefiting from the paved street.”

This week’s meeting of the board of supervisors was canceled. The board’s next session is scheduled for March 7.

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