John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

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:

  1. What is the general purpose and objective of the EIP program? What is its history? Is the program funded with federal money?
  2. Is the EIP program only for municipalities whose finances are in a state of crisis or collapse?
  3. How long does it take for an application for a grant to be approved?
  4. 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?
  5. How many EIP studies have been done, that you know of, and over what time frame?
  6. How many of them have focused on improving the health of municipal finances?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. 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.)
  10. 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?
  11. What has been the reaction of the municipalities to the study? Have any been dissatisfied?
  12. How long does a study of this kind normally take to be completed?
  13. Is grant money available for follow-on studies?
  14. 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?
  15. Can the study benchmark Newtown Township’s municipal services and expenditures against other similar municipalities?
  16. Can you show us a few examples of the kind of study we’re interested in?

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