Friday, July 29, 2016

Water and Sewer Still a Twp. Issue

Hi All,
Since Leo Savoie became Supervisor, your water and sewer bill has gone up.  One reason may be because he has added 5.75 more employees to this department since taking office.  Your W&S bills pay the wages/benefits/pension of the 20.75 current employees and all the W&S retirees.   Hire more, or move existing employees into the W & S more.

Maybe the water and sewer bills have gone up because the township changes the pay rate on April 1 of each year to us, the customer, but the water authorities that sell the water don't change the rate until July 1 of each year.  So, why are our fees increased in April but the township doesn't pay more for the water until July 1?

Maybe the water and sewer bills have gone up because the Township WANTED to join SOCWA to buy water cheaper, but SOCWA has not admitted the township into the group.  Therefore, SOCWA charges the township MORE for water than they charge their "members".  We now pay a middleman, when we used to buy directly.

Maybe the water and sewer bills have gone up because of the RTS fees.  Ready to Serve.  Those fees have nothing to do with your water usage.   Just that you MIGHT need water....and sewer at some point... so here is a fee to pay... just in case.   If there were no  RTS fee,  then the High Water and Sewer users  would pay much more.... and they should.  Basically, the RTS fees are subsidizing the high water and sewer users.

Maybe the water and sewer bills have gone up because the township says in the budget that it costs the township  $1 million for each  the water and sewer "depreciation" .   What?  So our bills need to cover those $1 million dollar line items?  Apparently, yes.   But why? 

Does anyone know what vehicles and  how much equipment are paid for out of the water and sewer department?  I wonder what the total cost might be?

Maybe the water and sewer bills have gone up because Supervisor Savoie and his "gang" of trustees have NOT CHARGED some subdivisions or individual  for new infrastructure.  No S. A. D.  was set up for the benefiting properties to pay for the improvements in some cases.   So that means... your water and sewer bills... built the infrastructure for some houses at no cost to them...and since they didn't ever have water and sewer... they never put any money into that water and sewer account that paid the new infrastructure  bill.
At the same time,  there are subdivisions and individuals that DID pay for the improvements and are still paying via S.A. D.   What is the township policy?  Why different decisions for some?   Can you say "family and friends"?   Did you know that at one subdivision,  the water and sewer installation created a situation where the ROAD needed replacing.  Gee, they got water, sewer, and a new road.  No S.A.D.   Our water and sewer bills paid for that one project.  

Maybe the water and sewer bills have gone up because Supervisor Savoie decided that a water and sewer account needed to transfer $2.76 million dollars into an irrevocable retiree health care trust fund. That account balance doubled in size with that single 2.76 million dollar transfer.   All the previous dollars into that account came from the general fund money.  Now Savoie and his "gang" have set up this trust fund differently since it's inception in 2005.  Too complicated to explain... but your water and sewer bills are being tapped to basically fund this for all employees.

I don't trust what is happening in the Township... and I don't trust how this Retiree Health FUND has changed over the past 8 months.  I agree with the petitioners asking for a forensic audit of the Water and Sewer Fund.... or at least of the $2.76 million dollars recently deposited. Additional money has  been deposited since then from the water and sewer department.  (Currently there is a pending lawsuit filed against the township concerning the water and sewer department.)

Supervisor Savoie and Finance Director Jason Theis and some on the Board of Trustees managed to:
  •  transfer $2.76 million dollars from a water and sewer account into this irrevocable trust fund
  • change the language of the trust fund that has been in place since 2005
  • change the number of trustees for the fund.  
Study session meetings at 7:30 AM is not a public friendly time.    Here are the meeting minutes from 3/23/16 and from two more since then.   Changing the language and the number of trustees was part of the orchestrated assault on Treasurer Dan Devine and his character by Supervisor Leo Savoie and his "gang' of trustees.  My opinion.

More of my comments and opinions and facts:

  • Pay attention to this Retired Employees' Health Care Benefits Trust (2005 OPEB FUND -other post employee benefits) that has been basically ignored for 10 years by the Township leadership and trustees until now.   
  • Treasurer Dan Devine has been the sole trustee to invest the money that the Supervisor(s) (Payne and Savoie) budgeted or not budgeted but eventually deposited.  
  • Approximately $2.76 million had been deposited from the General Fund since 2005 (most deposited recently).  That money was reported in the Milliman report to cover employees listed in four categories:  Police, Fire, Library and Town.  
  • As of July 1, 2015 (retroactively) the total accrued liability is $157,390,635.00 as reported in the Milliman Actuarial Valuation report that was very late in submitting that report just to accommodate Supervisor Savoie's $2.76 million transfer in late Nov. 2015.  Milliman also changed the July 1, 2015 report done the same way for years by now adding a fifth employee category: water and sewer.   The $2.76 million was added to the fund near the end of 2015... but Milliman included the money as deposited as of July 1, 2015 with an asterisk *   All of the new deposit of $2.76 million is JUST for water and sewer retirees.  The previously deposited $2.76 million deposited with General Fund money was deposited for ALL police, fire, library and town retirees.  I would assume water and sewer employees USED to be classified in the "town" category. 
  • The SCARY part of all this.... that this fund is now reporting over $5 million dollars ... but in reality... half of this money is only DEDICATED for the 20 + water and sewer employees.  The hundreds of other township employees only have $2.76 million for their benefit... so in reality, this trust fund is still grossly underfunded.  Supervisor Savoie has NOT made any attempt to budget money out of all the other employee budgets to fund this trust for them.   Why?

Current payroll is for 370 + employees:  256 full time, 108 library, 6 Village Police/Fire, plus 10-25 part-time and seasonal.    2015 estimated number of active/ retired/ spouses of retirees/beneficiaries and deferred members total 571.   Library is NOT part of our government...they are a separate taxing authority,  but somehow the library employees  are in the township pension fund.

A recent change in the law is requiring municipalities to now report all funds and accounts.  This 2005 Fund now must be reported.
  • Is this why Supervisor Savoie and apparently Finance Director Jason Theis had quietly inserted into the recent yearly budgets a line item in the water and sewer fund to pay into this retiree health benefits FUND? 
  • Why wasn't the money reportedly collected ever deposited into the FUND each year?
  • Why are no other employee categories/ Police, Fire, Library, Town  listed with this line item in the past and current budgets to pay into the OPEB fund annually?
  • Why didn't Savoie/or Theis add this line item in the 2016-2017 budgets for those other categories?
  • Why is just water and sewer paying into the OPEB  FUND? Is it because Savoie, et al, figures they can get money from the water and sewer bills and not use property tax money to pay these retiree obligations that were not funded when they should have been? 

Supervisor Savoie tried to quietly and administratively transfer from the water and sewer accounts $2.76 million to this retiree health care trust as an agenda item.  Treasurer Devine said wait a minute and thus began another assault on Treasurer Dan Devine and his character.   Eventually, on November 30, 2015,  another $2.76 million was transferred into this FUND with Savoie and Theis claiming that all this money being deposited was budgeted and collected in the Water & Sewer fund which is from your water/sewer bill payments since 2009.

Actually, line item # 874.01 wasn't a line item until the  2013  "ESTIMATED" budget report.
  • Wow..  that occurred AFTER the 2013 budget was adopted by the Board of Trustees.   
  • Finance Director Jason Theis  said at a meeting that he "created" the line item.  
  • Did anyone direct him to do so?
  • At what point were the Trustees made aware of this change to the adopted budget?  Or, were they?  Was it legal to add a line item to the adopted budget/ midway through the year?
  • How much more money was collected because of this new line item?
  • How is that figure determined? Is it fair?
Savoie became Supervisor in Aug. 2011... former Supervisor David Payne's last budget was the 2011-2012  with the "actual" figures showing end of fiscal 2011-2012 year as March 31, 2012.

Line items from the budgets for water and sewer retiree benefits: Money needed to pay retiree benefits and pay into the OPEB FUND.   Notice when line item #874.01 was first shown in budget.
                                                      2009-2010 Adopted          2010 Estimated        2010 Actual
# 874        Retiree Benefits                      ???                                ???                         $437,642.25

# 874        Retiree Benefits           2010-2011 Adopted           2011 Estimated       2011 Actual
                                                                  $160,000                    $450,000                 $478,243.25

# 874         Retiree Benefits          2011-2012 Adopted           2012 Estimated      2012 Actual
                                                                  $550,000                    $550,000                 $481,544.76

# 874         Retiree Benefits          2012-2013 Adopted          2013 Estimated       2013 Actual
                                                                 $550,000                     $245,000                  $243,660
# 874.01    Retiree Benefits OPEB           non existing item       $250,000                  $472,898

# 874         Retiree Benefits          2013-2014 Adopted          2014 Estimated       2014 Actual
                                                                  $257,000                  $355,000                  $353,293.26
# 874.01    Retiree Benefits OPEB           $250,000                  $500,000                  $577,310.00

# 874         Retiree Benefits         2014-2015 Adopted           2015 Estimated       2015 Actual
                                                                  $380,620                  $350,000                  $353,061.86
# 874.01    Retiree Benefits OPEB           $525,000                  $600,000                  $693,534.00

# 874         Retiree Benefits         2015-2016 Adopted           2016 Estimated        2016 Actual
                                                                  $369,000                  $371,000                not until 3/31/16
# 874.01    Retiree Benefits  OPEB          $625,000                  $220,000                not until 3/31/16

# 874         Retiree Benefits         2016-2017 Adopted          2017 Estimated         2017 Actual
# 874.01    Retiree Benefits OPEB           $220,000

From the New AUDITOR this year/UHY/ letter not signed... information incorrect/ FUND was established in 2005 not 2009.  Former Supervisor Payne didn't see fit to fund the FUND perhaps until 2009?  Where, when, by whom and how the "chart" was created is not clear.

I understand 2015 and 2014 figures... however.... the ADOPTED budget for 2013  did NOT have line item # 874.01   and I question the legality of just splitting up the line item # 874  and then increasing the original figure for # 874  of $550,000 by $166,558  to equal $716,558.