Coun­cil ap­proves $2.855-mil­lion fi­nal bud­get with no tax in­crease

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

YARDiEY BOROrdH – Yardley Bor­ough ap­proved its $2.855-mil­lion 2013 fi­nal bud­get Dec. 18 with­out a tax in­crease.

This marks the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year that there has been no real es­tate prop­erty tax in­crease in the bor­ough.

The av­er­age prop­erty as­sess­ment in Yardley is $24,000. The av­er­age prop­erty owner pays $401.52 in real es­tate taxes per year, or $33.46 per month, to sup­port bor­ough ser­vices.

The to­tal bud­get fig­ure has in­creased from $2.5-mil­lion over 2012.

Bor­ough man­ager John Boyle said the $2.855-mil­lion fi­nal bud­get is less than the pre­lim­i­nary bud­get, which was ap­proved in Novem­ber at $2.864-mil­lion.

The bud­get in­cludes a pay de­crease for Po­lice Chief Jim O’Neill, who will be work­ing 32 hours a week in 2014. His new salary has not been made pub­lic by the bor­ough.

The two-year pact, ap­proved by counci, is ex­pected to be signed by the end of this year when his salary will of­fi­cially be­come pub­lic knowl­edge.

Boyle noted that the cost of health care for the bor­ough’s four full-time em­ploy­ees has gone down be­cause O’Neill’s dental plan is chang­ing from two adults to one adult.

Over­all, hos­pi­tal­iza­tion and health care has gone down by $1,000 or by 4.26 per­cent, he said.

How­ever, Boyle said the full-time em­ploy­ees have a new dental package. Be­fore, the cost of x-rays, clean­ing and flu­o­ride treat­ment was paid by the plan.

“That was it,” Boyle said. “Any­thing else was out-of-pocket. I looked into a plan that was a real dental plan.”

The bud­get also in­cludes $15,000 ear­marked to con­vert­ing bor­ough hall’s heat­ing sys­tem from oil to gas.

“Even­tu­ally, there will be a sav­ings,” he said.

Also in the bud­get are funds to pur­chase the river­front prop­erty next to the Fitzger­ald-Sum­mer Funeral Home on Delaware Av­enue (River Road) to use as a recre­ational park.

The county com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved two grants to as­sist the bor­ough in the ac­qui­si­tion - a mu­nic­i­pal open space grant and a Delaware River Pro­gram grant. To­gether, the grants to­tal a lit­tle more than $340,000. The bor­ough will re­ceive the funds pri­mar­ily be­cause the prop­erty is lo­cated along the Delaware River.

The cost to ac­quire the prop­erty is $500,000.

In ad­di­tion to the pos­si­ble open space pur­chase, the bud­get in­cludes funds for main­te­nance of the his­toric bor­ough hall on South Main Street, fed­er­ally man­dated emer­gency ra­dios (which all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are re­quired to have), the Afton Av­enue Streetscape Im­prove­ment Project and the North Main Street side­walk project, which has been on the pri­or­ity list for many years.

An­other key item in the bud­get is the el­e­va­tion of two homes above the flood­plain through grants re­ceived from the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency and Penn­syl­va­nia Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (PEMA).

Boyle said a cou­ple more streets will also be up­graded through the bor­ough’s road pro­gram. About 10 streets have been done this year.

The bor­ough is op­er­ated by prop­erty taxes, an oc­cu­pa­tion tax, a per capita tax, real es­tate trans­fer fees and the busi­ness priv­i­lege tax.

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