Kennett Township sets 2019 budget
By Richard Gaw
The 2019 budget for Kennett Township is highlighted by no tax increases, an anticipated reduction in spending for the new year, the rehabilitation of a historic township bridge, and the upgrading of existing trails and the installation of new ones.
Approved by the township's supervisors on Dec. 5, the budgeted revenues for the township next year are set at $4.18 million, an increase from 2018, which came in at $3.53 million. On the expenditure side, the township is expected to spend $3.16 million, 13 percent below its 2018 budget of $3.58 million.
At the beginning of the year, the township's reserve balance stood at $3.27 million, and is projected to be $3.1 million at the end of 2018.
The bulk of the township's general fund revenues is anticipated to come from taxes ($3.175 million), with contributions also coming from general government, interest earnings, operating grants, permits, service fees, state revenue and transfer taxes.
An estimated $1.63 million dedicated to wages and benefits will be responsible for the bulk of township expenditures in 2019. That's lower than this year's figure, due to the township's decision not to fill a vacated staff job next year, and an anticipated decrease in the amount of grant application work next year.
The projected revenues and expenditures for the townships' emergency services fund budget are nearly the same for 2019; revenues are anticipated to be $1.72 million and expenditures are expected to be $1.72 million. On the fund's revenue side, 85 percent is expected to come from the emergency services tax, and 68 percent of spending – about $1.17 million – will come from police. It's an increase of 170,000 from this year, which reflects the department's pay raise, and reallocation of part-time and full-time employment.
The introduction of the 2019 emergency services fund budget proved to be far less dramatic than its introduction to the 2018 budget, when the board quarreled with several township residents over the decision to create the $1.5 million fund, which would take about $930 a year out of household budgets in the township. The fund was established as an outgrowth of the township's financial commitment to the Kennett Police Department and the Emergency Services Commission that consolidates Kennett, Pro-Mar-Lin and the Longwood fire companies.
In 2019, the township's capital fund budget revenues are expected to be $850,800, while its expenditures are set at $922,000. The key expenditures anticipated next year will be $442,000 that will be used to pay for trail installations throughout the township. They are anticipated to include a public trail that will extend from sidewalks on Old Baltimore Pike through the Penns Manor development to Pemberton Road; a trail on West South Street from Pennock Park to Kennett Borough; and the upgrade of the Parish trails that extend from Pennock Park to Chandler Mill Road.
In addition, $120,000 will be used from the fund to pay for the rehabilitation of the historic Chandler Mill Bridge, which is anticipated to re-open in 2019 as a pedestrian-only structure, after an 8-year closure. Additional expenditures will include $20,000 that will be dedicated toward the modernization of the historic Fussell House; $67,000 toward a new traffic signal at Route 82 South and Route 1; and $200,000 for paving upgrades.
In the township's open space budget category, the township budgeted $2.785 million for 2019, which will be targeted to paying for any open space easements that may arise next year. About $2 million – or 72 percent – of the budgeted open space revenue – will come from loan funding, which will not be withdrawn unless an open space property became available. The remaining 28 percent of revenues will be paid for through $785,000 raised through the open space tax.
On the expenditure ledger, the township just settled on two properties recently – its purchase of the Spar Hill property, a 103-acre tract of land that borders Burnt Mill, Center Mill and Old Kennett roads; and open space acquisition of a 20-acre property off of Bucktoe Road, for which the township contributed $480,000, in partnership with the The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County.
The township expects its 2019 sewer fund revenue to be $1.82 million, while its expenditures are anticipated to be $1.51 million, and $400,000 increase from this year, in order to address the repair of a failing sewer system on Creek Road in 2019.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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