By Richard L. Gaw
A preliminary snapshot look at Kennett Township's 2014 budget, unveiled on Nov. 18, projects that its general fund will have a beginning balance of $10.4 million on Jan. 1, will raise slightly more than $3 million in revenue, absorb $2.65 million in expenses, and is expected to finish next year with end-of-the-year balance of $10.11 million.
The report was given by Township Manager Lisa Moore at the township's board of supervisors' meeting, and is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Moore said that the township's budget is also expected to include a $1.1 million outstanding swer fun loan, and the dedication of $1.8 million toward the formation of the township's newly-formed capital plan, developed by the township's Business Advisory Committee in order to invest some of the township's surplus toward many of the township's long-term needs, projected over a 10- to 20-year period.
In 2014, the capital plan is anticipated to make $1.6 million in donations, which will include a contribution of $650,000 for the Longwood Fire Company for the purchase of a new fire truck, as well as make further donations to Kennett Fire Company. In addition, $130,000 will be pulled from the plan's budget to pay for a new dump truck for the township; $248,500 will be used to revitalize the stream bank at the Marshall Bridge Road vicinity; and $165,000 will be designated for paving throughout the township. Moore said that the ending balance expected for the fund will be $217,968.
Perhaps the most notable anticipated difference in the township's budget between this year and next is reflected in its open space budget for 2014, which is expected to open and close next year with a balance of $3.2 million. The township projects that it will spend $931,500 in open space expenditures next year, an vast increase over the $176,074 it expects to pay out this year.
Moore praised the work of the Business Advisory Committee in their development of the capital plan, whose members include Bob Listerman, Tom Schorn and Bill McLachlan.
Moore also provided a summary of the township's balance sheet for the first 9 months of 2013, which lists the township's current assets at $12.14 million as of Sept. 30, with its general fund accounting for $8.93 million of that figure. Added to the township's total fixed assets from township property, plant and equipment standing at $6.69 million, the township's total assets through the end of September stood at $19.68 million, while liabilities stood at $844,708.
The revenues for the first 9 months were $2.4 million, while township expenditures stood at $2.56 million, with five categories making up 84 percent of the township's expenses: wages and benefits; fire and emergency services; general government; police expenses; and miscellaneous expenses. As of the end of the 9-month period, police expenditures were 36 percent higher than last year, due to the hiring of a full-time police officer and the purchase of a police vehicle.
The township's tax revenue, totaling $1.62 million, comprised 73 percent of the township's total revenue for that period, which this year was 9 percent under budget due to a tax cut levied at the beginning of the year.
Moore said that the township's open space balance on Jan.1 stood at $2.33 million, saw $562,740 in added revenue during that time, and absorbed $93,096 in expenses for an ending balance of $2.8 million.
In other township business, Moore gave an update on the progress of the Penns Manor development, saying that its roads have been paved, grates for storm water basins and street lights are being installed, and that a few sidewalks still need to be repaired.
Moore said in the future, no township meetings will be held on either the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or President's Day.
Work on the township-wide sewer study continues, Moore said. The township's sewer engineer is currently surveying residents door-to-door on weekends, for a survey report that is due to be completed at the end of the year.