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Chester County Press

Taxes to remain steady for 2017 in East Marlborough Township

12/06/2016 11:42AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

There will be no tax increase again next year in East Marlborough Township, as the Board of Supervisors adopted resolutions keeping rates the same for 2017 at their Dec. 5 meeting.

In 2017, real estate taxes will remain at 1.05 mills for 2017 (for an estimated income of $733,800), the library tax is 1.83 mills ($127,905), the open space tax is 0.2 of a mill ($127,904), and the fire tax is 0.75 of a mill ($524,200). The budget figures are posted on the township's website (www.eastmarlborough.org). A formal vote will be held on Dec. 19 to adopt the rates, after the public has had a chance to review the budget.

Cuyler Walker, chairman of the township Planning Commission, presented the board with copies of a report on emergency services. Walker has worked with a consulting firm and board member Bob Weer to submit the report to local fire and emergency services for their input.

“This is the final report of the consultant who has been working with six municipalities on the concept of a regional fire and EMS system,” Walker told the board. The municipalities are East Marlborough, Newlin Township, Pocopson Township, Pennsbury Township, Kennett Township and Kennett Borough.

“The report contains a lot of data and recommendations in respect to ways that the operations of the three fire companies in the region – Po-Mar-Lin, Longwood and Kennett – could be more uniform in nature,” Walker said. “The only thing requiring municipal reaction at this stage is that the six municipalities form a commission to work with the fire companies. The fire companies would maintain their independent status, but they would have the benefit of being able to communicate with one body, one commission, representing the six municipalities, rather than having to go to the various municipalities whose territory they serve.”

Much work remains to be done, Walker said, and the municipalities are just starting to discuss forming a commission, and how the different stakeholders would vote. “We would like each municipality at this stage to simply accept the report as an indication of continuing the process,” Walker said. “Nothing would be implemented until the commission is in place.”

East Marlborough paid $5,500 toward the cost of the consulting firm that prepared the study.

The concept of the regional service is that each municipality would share the cost of funding fire and EMS services, eliminating some of the overlap and duplication that exists under the current system. Under the proposal, the stakeholders would agree to a three-year term for a funding formula, to be evaluated later if necessary.

“The hope would be that a commission would be ready by the second quarter of 2017,” Walker said. “There's been really continuous positive collaboration from the six municipalities. There hasn't been any fundamental disagreement about the direction this is moving. The fire companies have been extremely responsive and very forthcoming with information.”

Walker and Weer said there are many details to work out. “There are a lot of challenges,” Walker said, “but the current way of doing things is unsustainable and undesirable. There is no opportunity for fire companies to speak in a unified way to funding sources, which are the municipalities.”

Walker also addressed the board about the building that formerly housed the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company in Unionville. The garage and meeting rooms now house only the Unionville Post Office. The building sits at the entrance to the Unionville Park.

Walker was part of a group that inspected the building for historic or aesthetic value, “and the commission didn't feel that the buildings were important enough assets to the township to justify the expense of keeping them,” he said. The commission is recommending demolition of the building, rather than paying for its upkeep or trying to adapt it for other uses.

The post office has leased its part of the building through May 2020, Walker said, so some accommodation will be required. Weer said that he met with the postmaster of the facility, who noted that about 700 boxes are rented at the location, a decline from about 800 in previous years.

Walker noted that, “The postal service is technically bankrupt,” so they may not be eager to spend money to maintain or upgrade the building.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.



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