Slatington tackles budget, looks at what needs to be funded
It’s crunch time for the Slatington Borough Council to straighten out the ongoing audit deficiencies just as budget season begins.
The board voted to allow accounting company Gurniak and Gurniak to look over the audit once again and “reconcile” funds into their proper accounts.
Richard Gurniak was present at the meeting to shed light on the upcoming financial activity.
“Some balances could be offset, some of the funds we could identify where they went,” Gurniak said.
“It depends on how much you want to clean up the records. We’re so pleased to get balances to balance,” he said.
Gurniak highlighted the police fund, sewer and water funds as accounts able to be balanced on the record.
“Some of the deficits are subject to law, they can’t just be moved,” he said.
“There are two factors, do you have the funds and are they legal to be able to be moved. Some of the accounts can be prioritized and we can see if some can be ‘netted out.’ There are dollars every week that are paid out of the general fund but are coming out of fire,” he said.
“Netting out” an account is a term used to produce a particular amount of money after tax and other costs have been paid. The firm will work to organize funds from and into the correct accounts.
“We are getting them cleaned up. We don’t want to wait three years and let it linger and then have to do it again.”
A clear look
President David Schnaars said the office staff in the borough office is working hard to keep the general fund up to date.
“I was asked by Judith to recommend to the council, to consult with each other on the net out stuff and then decide what to do from there,” Gurniak said.
Borough Manager Judith Danko was absent from the October meeting.
“If we can get this done as soon as possible, then we’ll have a clear book. They can advise us on what to do monthly, not yearly. We cannot really put a budget together till this is done,” borough council member Jon Rinker said.
Council member Jason Ruff asked for a timeline for the actions being taken.
Borough solicitor Thomas H. Dinkelacker said the board could be provided with the information they need by the second borough budget meeting in November.
Councilman Joe Wechsler expressed concern on the financial health of the borough, saying he was, “worried he’s going to come back to us and say that we’re broke.
“We owe money from the general fund to another fund,” he said.
“We just want to straighten out the books,” Schnaars said.
“What we can do is take care of the fluff. We can put money into the sewer or other fund if we can afford to do it, that’s going to be what we look at,” Dinkelacker said.
“We’re going to clean this up and get a number we can start looking at,” Gurniack said.
“We’ve been led to believe by the borough manager that we are broke. I’m glad you’re here to straighten out the books,” said Wechsler.
Borough fire Chief Jason Nicolas brought attention this month to decades-old department bills for much-needed repairs to lifesaving equipment.
“In mid-September we were informed we are over budget, that we have outstanding invoices for repairs and services. All these invoices are for borough-owned trucks,” he said.
The prices in question are: $2,511 to Kaler Motor, $2,342 to Horwith Freighter and $2,339 to Mid-Atlantic Fire and Air.
“The Horwith Trucking was inspection for two vehicles and exhaust repair,” he said, “$3,420 are repairs that include a leaking core. It was leaking raw antifreeze into the cab.”
“If we approve for us to pay for it, we’ll be over budget,” Schnaars said.
“They already had the work done, so I guess we have to pay for it,” Wechsler said.
An additional bill to update and equip the newest truck on the firefighting fleet was submitted to the board, but Nicolas said the sale of the old truck will fund the work needed.
“The $7,000 was submitted after I was told we are over budget. But we will be able to take care of it from the sale of the old truck, the painting, radios and lettering will all be taken care of by the sale of the old truck,” Nicolas said.
“Right now we only have two trucks that can pump water in Slatington. If one goes down the department shuts down. We want to process the other truck as soon as we can,” he said.
“We are continuing to operate under budget,” he said.
The board made a motion to allow for the $7,000 loan to process the new truck to be paid back after the sale of the old.
The borough budget meetings are open to the public and will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 31 at the borough hall building. Melissa Grube from the agency Campbell, Rappold and Yurasits will be present at the Oct. 24 meeting to answer audit questions.