Kennett Township unveils 2015 budget draft
● By Richard Gaw
Kennett Township shared a snapshot of its proposed 2015 budget, highlighted by plans anticipated for its General Fund, which will stand at $7.15 million at the start of 2015.
Speaking at the township's board of supervisors' meeting on Nov. 19, Township manager Lisa Moore discussed the particulars surrounding not only the General Fund allocations, but the plans for four other funds, which included Library, Open Space, Sewer, State and Capital funds.
At the top of contributors for the General Fund will be local enabling taxes, which are estimated to be $2.24 million, while taxes are projected to bring in $162,800 and service fees, $180,200. The projected revenue for the General Fund, Moore said, will be six percent lower than the 2014 General Fund, and two percent lower than the actual income.
On the General Fund's expense side, Moore projected the township to disperse $3.1 million in 2015, with $1.26 million anticipated to be from wages and benefits – a 16.5 percent increase from the projected 2014 budget. Fire and Emergency services is anticipated to cost $402,800; general government will cost $422,500; and police, $297,583. A primary reason for the increase is due to the hiring of a new road crew member, who will begin on Dec. 1.
By the end of 2015, the General Fund should finish with $4.26 million in cash, and $4.87 million in equity, equaling a $85,000 net gain.
Based on what it received in 2014, the 2015 Library Fund will expect to raise $154,000 in taxes, all of which will be forwarded to the Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett Square.
The Open Space Fund balance currently sits at $3.24 million. The fund is budgeted at $863,000 in expected tax revenue for 2015, and expects to spend $943,674 in easements -- $377,000 of which is budgeted to pay for an easement placed on the Ham property in the township.
The township's Sewer Fund is expected to show a slight profit in 2015, increasing from a projected revenue of $815,000 in 2014 to $1.03 million in 2015. Moore said that in order to assure that each pump station gains some profit to cover expenditures, charges for sewer fees will increase slightly in 2015. Currently, sewer fees sit at $10.24 per one thousand gallons, and will increase to $11 per thousand gallons -- applicable only to those residents whose sewer lines are connected to the Kennett Borough sewer system.
On the fund's expense side, the township is expected to pay out $994,720 in 2015, including $719,650 to pay for pump station maintenance.
Because Pennsylvania has raised its liquid fuels tax rate, the township will see its State Fund revenue increased slightly in 2015, moving from $193,829 in tax revenue to a projected $233,357. Moore said that the entirety of the fund's expenses will be to pay for road paving throughout the township, estimated at $258,600.
The township's Capital Fund created as part of a ten-year fund that will pay for essential improvements needed in the township. Each year, Moore said, additional money is added to the fund, and in 2015, she said that the fund will receive a major cash boost, resulting from a $2.9 million transfer from the General Fund. The bulk of the Capital Fund expenditures -- a little more than $1 million -- will be spent on improving roads throughout the township, while $650,000 will be spent on making much-needed improvements to the embankment area near the Marshall Road Bridge, which has been damaged from erosion.
In addition, the township will split the cost with the Kennett Square Borough in helping to pay for a new fire truck for the Kennett Fire Company, a figure that is estimated at $650,000.
In other township business, Moore said that the township solicitor has contacted Chester County in order to officially pursue the ownership of the Chandler Mill Bridge. By a vote of two to one, the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors voted at its Nov. 5 work session to enter the township into negotiations with Chester County to obtain the title and ownership of the bridge, for the purpose of preserving its historic nature, and rebuilding it in such a way that it allows emergency vehicle access.
Moore also said that the township supervisors decided to move forward on the recent study that is exploring the possibility of forming a regional police department in southern Chester County. The supervisors are panning to work in small groups with other participating municipalities, over the next few months.
Moore also shared that the township received the real estate assessment for the township, which she said has been priced at an assessed value $786,937,000, a slight increase over last year, she said.
The board approved the appointments of Rosa Quintana and Jim Nelson as township representatives on the Bayard Taylor Library's board of directors.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.