Kennett Square Borough unveils preliminary budget for 2020
● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square Borough officials offered a first look at the proposed budget for 2020, and as of now there is no tax increase anticipated.
During the Nov. 4 council meeting, Kennett Square Borough Manager Joseph Scalise outlined the proposed general fund budget that totals $5,051,439. For the 2019 budget, the expenditures were projected to be $4,904,409, so year-to-year expenditures are expected to increase slightly.
Scalise said that the 2020 budget will not require a tax increase, and there are no increases in water, sewer, or solid waste fees, either.
The borough manager outlined some of the items that impacted the borough’s budget. He noted that the borough retired about $1 million in debt during 2019. Additionally, the borough saved about $226,000 by refinancing some of its outstanding debt, which helps to offset some year-to-year increases in expenditures for 2019 and 2020.
The borough also completed the sale of the Weinstein lot to the Kennett Library, which generated revenues for the borough.
Looking forward to 2020, Scalise said that the budget includes a two-percent increase in salaries for uniformed personnel, which is contracted. There is also a three-percent increase in salaries for the staff that is not contracted. Health insurance costs are going up by seven percent, the borough manager explained.
One of the larger projects that the borough is planning to undertake in 2020 is the Birch Street project that has estimated engineering and construction costs of $710,000. The borough received a $500,000 Community Revitalization Program grant to offset these costs.
The borough is also allocating $184,000 for paving program.
Based on the projected budget, Scalise said, Kennett Square Borough will retire an additional $1.17 million in debt during the next year.
If the budget gets approved as is, without a tax increase, the millage rate will remain at 6.75 mills.
Scalise said that the proposed budget will be discussed again at the council meeting on Monday, Nov. 18.
Borough council has tentatively scheduled a special meeting to discuss the budget on Monday, Nov. 25, but that meeting may not be necessary. The plan is to formally adopt the 2020 budget on Monday, Dec. 2.
In other business at the meeting, Kennett Square approved additional change orders for the wastewater treatment plant project. Overall, the change orders for the project have amounted to about $180,000, which is about five percent of the total costs of a project.
Kennett Square Borough Council approved an easement agreement with the Kennett Library for the Weinstein lot. There are water and sewer lines that run east to west through the Weinstein lot, and the borough needs access to maintain those lines. The borough sold that lot to the Kennett Library so that it could construct a new library building on the site. The Kennett Library plans to relocate the lines as part of the project to build a library on the site, but until then the borough needs the easement agreement.
Borough council held a public hearing regarding a proposed ordinance amending Chapter 18, the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, that specifically addresses the section pertaining to parks and recreation.
The purpose of the ordinance amendment was to bring that section into conformity with state regulations, which have been changed in the last few years. The state regulations now allow a developer to not just donate parks and recreation land as a fee-in-lieu during the subdivision and land-development process, but to also donate funding for the maintenance of that land that is being used for parks or recreation.
Once the presentation about the proposed ordinance amendment was made and the public comments were heard, borough council closed the public hearing. There was no motion to approve the proposed ordinance, so the borough will not be moving forward with the amendment changes at this time.