Kennett Township total assets top $25 million
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
With its current assets sitting at more than $12.6 million and the cost of its property, plant and equipment valued at $12.5 million, Kennett Township's balance sheet exceeds $25 million, it was reported at the township's six-month financial report on Aug. 19.
In a presentation before the township's board of supervisors and residents, Township Manager Lisa Moore gave a summary of the township's financial picture, which included a breakdown of the township's assets, of which $7.1 million is included in the general fund. Revenue for the general fund was $1.9 million, a six pecent increase over last year.
On the expense side, the township spent $1.6 million out of its general fund during the first six months of 2015 -- a two percent decrease from last year -- 89 percent of which went to wages and benefits; police expenses; fire and emergency services; and roads. Police expenses went up 14 percent over the first six months of the year and 16 percent higher than budgeted, due to the hiring of part-time officers and overtime payment, following the retirement of Police Chief Albert McCarthy in May.
The police budget is expected to increase $125,000 next year, Moore said, due to the hiring of three new officers.
The township's open space fund balance as of June 30 stood at $3.1 million, generated $453,000 in opens space tax revenue during the first six months of the year, but spent only $57,000 out of the fund.
The township's remaining revenue sources -- the state, library, capital and sewer funds -- all had ending balances of less than $1 million.
During the first six months of the year, the township's Business Advisory Committee assisted with the development of a township invstment policy, and made recommendations to the township's inestment portfolio, which stood at $5.64 million at the end of 2014, and now stands at $5.67 million, a gain of $32,000.
While neighboring townships and municipalities carefully mine their budgets in the hopes of finding loose change in the couches of their coiffures, Kennett Township's financial picture remains the most solid of its kind anywhere. When asked whether or not this surplus of available cash would qualify the townhip to lower its tax structure, Board Chairman Scudder Stevens said that the township's real estate taxes -- which were lowered slightly a few years ago -- is the only township tax that has the flexibility to be changed.
"We talk about [reducing township taxes] on a regular basis, but there's not a lot of flexibility, because the primary source of our income is through our earned income tax," Stevens said.
The six-month financial report is included on the township's website.
In other business, the township is working on a proposed draft ordinance that if enacted would change the wording, terminology and defintions of items and issues releveant to many township codes and regulations. The oridinance is currently on the township's website for public review, will be discussed at the board's Sept. 2 meeting, and then be sent to the township's planning commission for further review. The ordinance stemmed from conversations between legal counsel, public works director and township staff, as a means of better clarifying terms and definitions.
Moore said that she recently met with a representative from SCCOOT, a service of the Transportation Management Association of Chester County, that provides public transportation to several residents in the township. She encouraged the supervisors to consider making a financial contribution to SCCOOT when drafting next year's budget.
Kennett Township Police Chief Lydell Nolt said that in July, the department provided police service to 302 incidets during the month. Beginning this month, the township's website, as well as the poice department's new Facebook page, will each contain the department's alert postings.
The department is continuing to participate in a summer-long aggressive driving enforcement program, to target aggressive drivers in an effort to curb traffic accidents and deaths throughout the township.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.