Kennett Square Borough unveils preliminary budget for 202111/10/2020 11:42AM ● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square Borough officials unveiled the preliminary budget for 2021 earlier this month.
Borough manager Joseph Scalise said at the Nov. 2 council meeting that the projected general fund budget for 2021 currently totals $4,946,641. Work on the spending will continue until it is finalized and adopted by borough council before the end of the year.
There will be no tax increase to balance the proposed budget. Additionally, the sewer and parking fees are expected to remain the same for next year, Scalise said.
Kennett Square Borough's finances have certainly been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the impact hasn't been as bad as borough officials once feared. For that reason, the borough has still been able to accomplish some of its financial goals during 2020.
Scalise noted that, as early as April of this year, the borough's various departments were making decisions to scale back projects, cut costs when possible, and delay a few planned capital projects in an effort to reduce expenses during 2020. So while revenues are down during this year, so are Kennett Square's projected expenditures.
Scalise said that the borough has been able to retire about $1.6 million in debt this year. The borough was also able to save money by refinancing some of the outstanding debt that remains.
The borough received a $500,000 grant for Birch Street storm-water improvements, but the work was delayed because of uncertainty resulting from COVID-19. This freed up about $200,000 from the 2020 budget, and the borough used it wisely to pay off a loan on a fire truck and a loan that paid for the LED streetlight. Retiring that debt reduces the strain on the 2021 budget.
The borough manager outlined some of the highlights of the 2021 budget. Scalise said that there is an expectation that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to impact the borough’s finances for 2021.
Scalise said that the 2021 budget includes a 2.5-percent raise for uniformed police officers, which is a contracted pay increase. The budget includes a 3.5-percent raise for non-uniformed employees.
The 2021 budget also includes funding to fill a vacancy in the police department that the borough delayed filling. Additionally, there is funding for the police department to add a lieutenant position.
For 2021, the projected water fund budget totals $1.87 million, while the sewer fund budget totals $2.25 million. The total of all funds is projected to be $10.05 million in 2021.