Cumberland Township approves proposed 2024 Budget; no increase in current tax rates

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting, David Blocher, Township Manager presented the proposed 2024 budget to the board.

The proposal introduced the establishment of an Operating Reserve Fund.  Since the Township’s revenue stream is not constant, Blocher explained, the intermittent revenue streams result in current regular, budgeted expenditures outstripping current, regular budgeted revenue in any given month. 

Township Logo

Blocher said the Reserve Fund will ensure that adequate cash is on hand to meet regular and budgeted expenditure needs until such time as the Operating Reserve Account can be replenished from revenues within the same budget year.

The measure will address bona fide emergencies and unforeseen revenue shortfalls resulting from events, such as extreme weather events damaging township infrastructure; emergency response events that require manpower and resources far beyond what could be anticipated in the respective emergency service department budgets; or closure of a major employer that significantly impacts revenue sources.

The budget also proposes to keep current tax rates unchanged.

The board unanimously approved the proposed budget, with a final approval vote scheduled for the December 21, 2023 Board of Supervisors meeting.  Board Chair Shaun Phiel acknowledged the tremendous effort that went into “detailed research” and “fine-tuning” of the budget draft by Blocher and staff members.

The details of the proposed budget can be found on the Township website:  2024 Proposed Cumberland Township Budget and the Savvy Citizen phone app; as well as in-person review at the Township building, 1370 Fairfield Road, during business hours Mondays through Thursdays.

The Supervisors also approved entering into a professional services agreement with Kinsley Construction for design and construction management services for the municipal complex project, which includes additions and renovation of the police department to include office space, an evidence room, interview rooms, shower and locker room and a public restroom.  The planning includes making some of the additional meeting space available to township groups, such as Home Owner Associations and other organizations.

Supervisor Christine Biggins thanked the Building Committee for their hard work planning the project.

Police Update:

Chief Matthew Trostel reported on ongoing training and qualification of his staff members, as well as the previous month’s police responses to calls for service, criminal incidents, and positive interactions. Officers Dakota Myers, Eric Yost, and A/Sgt Steve Higgs especially were acknowledged for assisting a resident with food and water for himself and his dog.

The Police Department thanked Crouse Electric for donating labor and materials to fix malfunctioning lighting in the station. 

Arrest of Wanted Person:  Chief Trostel provided details on the arrest last month of a wanted person who had been a fugitive from justice in both West Virginia and Pennsylvania and who had been charged with multiple offenses. Officer Dan Barbagello ran a routine registration check in connection with a vehicle stop. The driver provided false identification but was later positively identified as a wanted subject by use of a portable live scan fingerprint device provided by PA State Troopers.

Prescription Drug Takeback:  The 25th National Prescription Drug Takeback in October yielded hundreds of pounds of medications collected at the various disposal points in the county.  Chief Trostel would like to remind the public that Cumberland Township Police Department has a 24/7-365 drug drop box at the station on Fairfield Road that can be accessed by calling ahead using dispatch non-emergency number or using the blue phone at the station to contact the on-duty officer.

Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority:

GARA Director Erin Pedigree presented a review of programs hosted in 2023, which included numerous community events, including festivals, concerts, various health and charity walks, pavilion reservations, assembly room reservations, bus visits, and numerous sports and tournament events.

She presented a report on GARA’s budget, income, and expenses, an overview of completed improvement projects this past year, as well as major projects needed going forward.

Pedigree also reported that the relocation of the Adams County Farmers Market to the GARA location resulted in a huge success for the Market.

Pedigree thanked the Supervisors for their support of GARA and the Supervisors extended their appreciation to the great service that GARA provides to the community.

Other Business:

A Supervisor’s reorganization meeting is scheduled for January 2, 2024, at which time the Supervisors will welcome Supervisor-Elect Warren Sheppard to the Board.

Information on additional projects and committee reports presented at the meeting can be found in the Regular Board Meeting Agenda and will be available in further detail on the Cumberland Township website, once the minutes of this meeting have been approved and posted:  Cumberland Township BOS Meetings 2023.

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Donate Gardner, freelance reporter, came to Gettysburg in 2021 from Montgomery County, Maryland. A former linguist-turned-legal professional, Donate recently retired from the corporate world and is eager to support her new community in a variety of ways. As an immigrant born, raised, and educated in Germany, Donate still maintains a strong connection to the German language as a freelance writer and translator. Donate is an active musician and has made her new home in Gettysburg available to host house concerts for traveling musicians and local artists in need of support. Donate and her husband have two daughters and three grandchildren.

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