Kennett Square Borough Council adopts a $4.6 million budget for 2018
● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square Borough Council adopted a $4.6 million final budget for 2018 that was largely unchanged from the preliminary budget that had been unveiled in November.
The spending plan will not require a tax increase, and the millage rate will remain at 6.35 mills for another year. In addition to no tax increase, there will be no increase in the water or sewer fees, and there will be a decrease in solid waste fees.
Overall, the borough's financial position is strong and getting stronger. Kennett Square Borough retired $840,129 in debt during 2017, and the projection is that the borough will retire an additional $1,119,471 in debt during 2018.
The general fund budget for 2018 is set at $4,646,801. The borough’s sewer fund is projected at $3,379,178 for 2018, and water fund totals $1,364,150. The parking fund amounts to $2,296,868. The solid waste fund is set at $366,400, and the liquid fuels fund will be $234,225. The borough is allocating $424,176 for the general capital improvement fund. The emergency management fund totals $319,132. The total of all the funds combined, including the transfers that will be necessary, is $13,030,929. Inter-fund transfers amount to $1,226,757, so the total of all funds, less transfers, is $11,804,172.
The spending plan includes an increased contribution to the Kennett Library to meet the borough's fair share of the library's operations. There will be a 3-percent increase in uniformed and non-uniformed wages.
When the budget was unveiled, borough manager Joseph Scalise outlined some of the borough's activities in 2017, and how they impacted the borough's budget. The borough was able to fund its portion of the economic development director position, and hired a new finance director and a new police chief during 2017. Kennett Square Borough introduced a plan for a tiered trash system that will be implemented in 2018 that will help homeowners save money on their trash fees.
Also this year, the borough submitted two joint grant applications with Kennett Township for Birch Street streetscape improvements and for active transportation improvements. The borough also started using the Passport Parking App this year. Scalise explained that the borough has seen parking revenues increase by 15 percent.
Scalise also talked about some of the initiatives that are planned for 2018. There will be traffic calming additions for North Union's streetscape, and a $200,000 Birch Street water main is planned as a way to support economic development along Birch Street.
A $1.5 million parking garage expansion is in the works. The borough received a $500,000 grant to help pay for the expansion. The borough will also be utilizing $250,000 from the parking fund for the project. The remaining costs will require the borough to take on debt, but the borough is also retiring debt from previous bond issues. This phase of the parking garage expansion will add 100 parking spaces—less than what had originally been discussed—on two floors of the parking garage to meet the borough's immediate needs. The expansion will be sufficient to get all the cars off the Weinstein lot. The borough sold the lot to the Kennett Library earlier this year so that a new library can be constructed there.
Two longtime business owners in the Kennett Square community were honored during a meeting in December.
Mayoral citations were presented to Bob Burton and Burton's Barber Shop in celebration of 125 years of continueous operation in town. Bob's grandfather, Amos Burton, started the barber shop in 1892. Eventually, Amos was joined in the business by his brother, Harry, in 1911, and his son, J. Malcolm “Bat” Burton in 1917. Bob Burton joined the family business in 1955, and he continues to run it today.
A mayoral citation was also presented to Dave Torelli of Torelli's Custom Shop. The successful clothing business was started in Prospect Park by Dave's grandfather, Michael B. Torelli, in 1908. Dave moved the business to Kennett Square in 1979, and it has enjoyed 38 successful years in town. Dave is retiring at the end of the year.