Kennett Township's assets exceed $20 million
By Richard L. Gaw
Kennett Township's total assets have topped the $20 million mark, it was announced at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 20.
In her sixth-month financial report to the board, township manager Lisa Moore shared the balance sheet, which stated that the township has $20,141,427 in total assets, with $12,697,014 in current assets and total fixed assets (property, plant and equipment inventory) valued at $6,690,242. A $754,171 loan to the township's sewer fund was also calculated in the assets ledger.
In a six-month summary, the township's general fund revenue currently amounts to a total fund equity of $7,990,361. The fund generated $1.836 million in revenue for the first six months of 2014, 19 percent higher than last year and six percent higher than budgeted. Categories that saw an increase in the first six months of 2014 included building permits – which saw a 198 percent increase – and total tax revenue, which was 21 percent higher than last year.
On the expense side, the township currently sits on $11,960,958 in total liabilities and equity after the first six months of 2014. A total of $1.592 million was spent during that time, marked by increased spending in wages and benefits, and road projects and repairs – as well as other expenses, which amounted to $241,053. This $1.592 million figure is 11 percent higher than last year and four percent more than what had been budgeted from January to the end of June. At the beginning of the year, the township transferred $1.54 million to a newly formed capital fund, which is dedicated to pay for capital projects in the township.
The township's sewer fund balance as of June 30 stood at $282,629. The fund generated $981,642 in revenue due to sewer fees during the first six months of 2014, a 35 percent increase over this time last year, while sewer-related expenses in the township tallied $619,291, a 32 percent increase over last year.
In its open space fund, which sits at a current balance of $3,323,791, the township generated $509,295 in revenue in the first six months of 2014, $395,538 of which came from open space taxes, and $110,000 from fee-in-lieu fees. On the expense side, the township spent $56,337 in open space during that six-month period, seen in contributions to the Kennett Area Parks and Recreation and the Kennett Area Park Authority.
Moore said that the township is projected to spend a little more than $800,000 on two easements in the township by year's end: the Ham property on Burnt Mill Road, which is scheduled for a subdivision; and the Case property on Bayard Road. Both properties are approximately 36 acres each.
In other township business, Moore said that the municipalities involved in the study to explore forming a regional police force – Kennett, New Garden and London Grove townships, and Kennett Square Borough – met recently to further discuss the idea.The study is being conducted by The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), an agency that provides opportunities for state businesses and communities. In September, there will be a meeting for all police officers associated with the feasibility study, as well as representatives from DCED.
An electronic gate at the township's new maintenance garage is being installed, and will be open at 7 a.m. and close in the evening, adjusted according to the time of year. A surveillance camera has also been installed near the brush pile adjacent to the township maintenance garage, as a means of curtailing excessive dumping by residents.
The township has applied for a geothermal grant for the township building and the maintenance garage. Moore said that the unit will cost approximately $270,000, and that the township would be responsible for paying ten percent of the costs – about $27,000.
The Stormwater Ordinance, as required by the Department of Environmental Protection, is expected to be adopted by the township in September. The ordinance provides details and regulations on proper stormwater management.
Moore said that she met recently with the township's representative from the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) to discuss the high number of power outages in the township, largely due to weather-related incidents in which tree limbs heavy with snow fell and knocked down power wires.
There are no plans to place power lines underground in the township at this time, the PECO representative told Moore, except for wires planned for new developments, because underground wires are often hard to locate during power outages. The PECO representative also told Moore that on several occasions, PECO workers who have attempted to trim tree limbs in the township have been stopped by residents who have forced them to leave.
Supervisor Richard Leff commented about the response time by PECO to repair power outages in Kennett Township, which were among the longest recorded in Chester County during the past winter. “There was one [occasion] where [the township] had three times more outages than any other township,” he said.
“They said that they [PECO] do the best they can to get to the most dense areas first,” Moore said.
Moore said that the township's PECO representative has agreed to attend a township meeting in September or October to discuss the potential for power outages this coming winter.
Kennett Township Police Chief Albert McCarthy said July brought an increase in residential burglaries. He advised those who see a burglary taking place to call 911. “If you see it, call it,” McCarthy said. “Secure your residence with locks, alarms and motion-sensor lights.”
McCarthy denied that this recent surge of home burglaries had any connection to a a recent burglary scam that has been noticed in the Bucktoe Hills neighborhood and other areas of the township. As reported by residents in the audience, the scam begins with phone calls to homes, advertising a new grass-cutting service. If there is no answer, perpetrators then visit the home and, if there is no answer at the door, burglars break into the home. McCarthy said there have also been more burglaries of motor vehicles in the township.
To address a concern about the safety of trucks with adjoining carrier loads seen in the township, McCarthy and Kennett Township police officer Lydell Nolt, with assistance from the Parkesburg Police, conducted an inspection detail of trucks on June 18. McCarthy said that 25 percent of the truck carriers inspected were deemed unsafe and inefficient to operate on a highway, and that 20 citations were issued during the enforcement detail.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.