Andrew Sheaf Talks About DCED's Early Intervention Program
Andrew Sheaf, Local Government Policy Manager at the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED Definition), answers Newtown Township Board of Supervisors' questions about the Early Intervention Program (EIP) at the November 19, 2018 Work Session meeting. The EIP helps municipalities develop a long-term strategic plan. To participate in the program, municipalities must apply for a 50% matching grant to cover the costs of consultants who develop the plan. Consultant fees could be as high as $80,000 requiring the Township to set aside $40,000 if it decides to apply for a grant.
Prior to the meeting, the Newtown Township Finance Committee submitted a list of questions for Mr. Sheaf to answer:
- What is the general purpose and objective of the EIP program? What is its history? Is the program funded with federal money?
- Is the EIP program only for municipalities whose finances are in a state of crisis or collapse?
- How long does it take for an application for a grant to be approved?
- The Newtown Township Finance Committee would like assistance in creating a 5-year budget, based on revenue and expenditure projections completed by a qualified consultant. Can the grant we apply for be used to conduct that kind of study?
- How many EIP studies have been done, that you know of, and over what time frame?
- How many of them have focused on improving the health of municipal finances?
- Could you talk about some of the studies done by our neighboring communities? Could you provide with some contacts so we could talk with them?
- What kinds of financial management issues have the studies found? Is there a common finding or theme to those issues that the studies have discovered?
- What kinds of solutions have the studies proposed? (E.g., raise taxes, reduce services, find ways to make the municipal government more efficient, increase development, rezoning, etc.)
- Have any of those municipalities adopted the proposed solutions? What have been the outcomes? How long did it take for those solutions to produce an effect?
- What has been the reaction of the municipalities to the study? Have any been dissatisfied?
- How long does a study of this kind normally take to be completed?
- Is grant money available for follow-on studies?
- Please describe how the studies are accomplished: Are there distinct phases? What is done in each of those phases? Who is engaged in or participates in the each of the phases of the study?
- Can the study benchmark Newtown Township’s municipal services and expenditures against other similar municipalities?
- Can you show us a few examples of the kind of study we’re interested in?