The Abington Township 2024 Budget
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PROPOSED 2024 BUDGET VOTE 12-14-23 7PM
Zoom link in the 1st paragraph of this link (or
attend in person)
OF TOM FOOLERY IN THIS BUDGET :
FALSE INFORMATION GIVEN - SO
NOW WE KNOW WHY DOCUMENTS ARE WITHHELD
EACH OCTOBER - (see chart at the
end of this section) Manfredi told you all the operating and
Capital Funds totaled $77 M . That was not true. They totalled
$95M. That is why he withholds the documents from you. He
decided to exclude the $16M Capital fund that holds the ARPA
Covid relief and give you a number that was closer to what
you are used to hearing.
3/4 of a million dollars for
the Economic Development Corporation that we
told we were not going to be funding this despised entity ....
just giving it a little help to get it up and running, they said
. And there is not a single project in sight - not a
single project, with financial breakdown has ever been
presented. Can you even imagine what would benefit you so much
that you would spend several million on? You will have
already paid that when this passes. It might even be
something problematic. Clearly some will be benefitting from
your generous millions - but this is not how budgets are
done.... you should not you approve funding and THEN find out
what they plan to build.
--- 11 MILLION for PARKS -
NO SPECIFIC PROJECTS IN SIGHT In that same vein,
we are approving $11 million for parks with absolutely NO
IDEA what they have decided their priority projects are .
This is the same administration that ignored your parks
for years, made a mess of Karebrook and the Boy Scout
Preserve. The entire time Manfredi has been here - he had been
unable even to appoint people capable of restoring the frame of
a park bulletin board and putting useful information inside it.
Yet they have just gifted themselves 11 million of your dollars
to do whatever they want . Instead of the Parks Director
creating a plan, for his very generous salary, a
consultant was hired. Some on that team couldn't even pronounce
the names of our parks . They created an all encompassing "plan"
that basically listed everything you could possibly ever do in
nearly every park... with no actual priority list .Now they will
say the public DID approve it ...you know .... at
Budget time where the public had three minutes for
800 pages, no workshops or proper presentations --oh and
your three minutes is also to comment on an entire months agenda
items. This is not in the public interest..... was not done like
this in the past, and represents the cutting out of
CONSTRUCTION SERVICES NOT FOUND - and a third
place where we are approving large chunks of money and don't
know what the project is. I cannot find the amounts allocated
for the Construction services team and despite asking, they will
not help. The Construction Services Team gave a wildly
ridiculous presentation (AFTER our comments were over ) on Nov
9, 2023. They were purporting to show how much money they
saved. In this, the "created" their own bid amounts to
show how much more others would have charged - and they even
inserted "labor" costs - when the whole construction services
team is on salary already -- it is unlikely they calculated
pension & benefits like medical - social security , insurance,
etc. Competitors bidding would have to include
all of those. Plus, besides paying for all that, YOU are
buying their equipment , repairing it when it breaks down.
Competitors have to factor all that in It was
stunning to watch this -- yet another attempt to dupe the public
and done without the ability to ask any questions and get any
answers. That is a problem in and of itself in this
Township, isn't it?
--- SLUSH FUNDS - Projects and the spending of
money is supposed to be vetted in public with ample time for the
public to comment . Previously departments presented their
budget requests and if something was an "ask" in the budget, it
had been presented at a meeting with public comment.
But Richard Manfredi's budgets, from the beginning, had
all kinds of hidden items, that were not vetted at all - they
were simply unexplained line items - and our right to question
or comment so curtailed that we were unaware of what all
was being approved ...and frankly I believe the Commissioners
were , too. A feasibility study for a new Township
building, when no presentation had been given to say why one was
needed. $100K for Construction services - what project did you
have in mind that helped you come to that number? At one
point, Manager Manfredi put $485K in his own contigency
fund, up from the standard $100 or $150, which is already an
outrageous amount to have in your "change jar" and
afterward we were given conflicting answers on how the money had
been spent. Money should not be approved unless we know clearly
what the plan is ... and we tell our Commissioners we approve.
That is how it is supposed to work.
WHERE ARE THE NON-APPROPRIATED FUNDS
Of the $77M ,
$1.7 M has not been appropriated. We cannot find what that
$1.7 M is to be used for and why -- because despite all
the promises they DON'T actually answer questions.
Until 2018, Abington
Hospital used to pay $437K as a "payment in lieu of
taxes" (PILOT) per their agreement . This year,
FIVE entities made PILOT ( Payment in Lieu of taxes )
payments . I cannot find which five, nor the exact amounts - but
only $637 K has been collected so something seems quite off .
And in several earlier years only a few hundred was collected .
I am unable to get proper explanations for this, despite all the
claims that questions will be answered. Clearly they are not .
I expect the entities are Abington-Jefferson// Holy
Redeemer//PennState Abington//Manor College - and maybe Rydal
Park . But shouldn't we KNOW this...?
AUDITOR AND EVERYONE ELSE NOT
CATCHING MAJOR ERROR
Somehow, magically, the Auditor missed that the tax millage
increased in 2020 by 10% . A chart was made that would likely
have been carried forward ad infinitum with this tax
increase missing . How did our finance team magically do
that , how did the auditors miss something that big --- and how
many others review Audit report ACFR when it is published
and everyone missed that???????? Whio IS minding hthe
REMOVING EMPLOYEE STATS FROM
A huge part of our budget is employe expense.
Manager Manfredi has removed the names of the employees, their
poitions and the salaries they make. This is a big deal -
because this Manager has shuffled people around like a magician
doing a bad card trick. With his own salary equivalent to the
Governor of PA and our Police Chief more than the NY Police
Commissioner, and two Code Directors who already had full time
jobs in Emergency Management and as Fire Marshal, we deserve to
be able to see everyone's name, position and salary in our
budget. Previously we could - we want that restored.
MORE CODE ENFORCEMENT IS NEEDED
what are the new positions being added ?
Are any for additional code?
We should be able to see
that, but can't.
OF SURPLUS FUNDS
p 28 Since the surplus
going to OPEB and Capital Fund
encourages the Township to inflate the Operating
budget and thereby have a larger surplus, the rule should be
rewritten : Surplus funds should
only be used to
pay down debt and otherwise be returned to the fund balance to
keep taxes down.
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE - BUT TIME RESTRICTS A BETTER ANALYSIS ---
IT IS UP TO ALL OF US
TO MAKE SURE WE GET SOME OF THE TRANSPARENCY
BACK THAT IS BEING REMOVED.
--- Not allowing
ample time to review or to speak on the budget has cut residents
out of the process almost entirely
---- NO PARTICIPATION IN
DEVELOPING THE BUDGET
Providing no early public presentations, so the public can
have a say in the developing budget ...NO workshops
and if Commissioners are participating out of the oublic
--- VIOLATION OF TOWNSHIP POLICY
Withholding the document itself entirely upon the 1st (late)
presentation in October is a violation of Township policy
means no meaningful
public comment can result before the voting meeting
--- PUBLIC COMMENT RENEDERED MEANINGLESS
Holding the FIRST informed public comment on the date of the
(this renders that
comment relatively meaningless as no changes are likely
to be made at such a late date)
--- ACCOUNTABILITY IS
NO accountability for
tax increases - no specific reasons given
NON ESSENTIAL INFO OBSCURES THE ESSENTIAL
Ballooning up the pages with nonsense, non budget related
information as a
effective block to transparency- very few will read through
all those pages and pages of non budget related nonsense
--- DEPT INFORMATION IS NOT COMPLETE AND IN ONE PLACE
Removing the clear and explicit Dept information showing
salaries and department
expenses in one concise area of the budget
the names of employees, their positions and their salaries
--- TEENY TINY PRINT - USELESS CHARTS AND
actual necessary figures
are written so tiny you can't read them - often
this is because of the useless, space consuming pie charts
There should be a
--- Adopting a
non-searchable main budget format ( the most
difficult budget format to find things that we have ever had )
- they are using a model created by DCED and for those who work
with the budget everyday it becaomes 2nd nature
to know where things are and how to reach them - but for
residents whose job is oversight.....this iprevents it.
--- Adopting a budget you cannot archive for year to
year comparisons, etc.
--- Using multiple names,
sometimes 3 or 4 different ones, for the same
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEBACLE
THAT OUR BUDGET PROCESS HAS BECOME?
Richard Manfredi arrived in may of 2017 -- The
2018 budget was already underway -- but the 2019 budget was his
first great work of stolen transparency. All of his actions have
been supported by Tom Hecker and Matt Vahey who have taken over
In 2019 he planned out a 30% tax increase - an
outrageous amount - far, far higher than any we had ever
received in Abington -- EVER. He planned the first third as a
"test" in 2020 -- and when he saw that no one really got too
upset with that - he planned to continue with part 2 .
But Covid hit us in 2020 -- and he held off part
2 until 2021 --- when we got the 2nd 20% increase, it was
a 27 % increase in our taxes . Add that to the nearly 10%
we just had and altogether you have a tax hike that is just a
little under 40% over a 3 year period. Insane. It allowed
Manfredi more than 3 million dollars over what any of his
predecessors were working with . And still the wants
and needs of the residents are being ignored, some even kept in
grave danger, while developers are welcomed with open arms.
The way wealth is transferred is on full display in Abington
Township. That hurts America - and all Abington residents and
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send your information to us and please be sure
to tell us about any information you believe to be
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