Budget calls for no tax hike
WEST POTTSGROVE » The draft $3 million 2018 township budget does not anticipate raising property taxes, but it will pull nearly half its revenues from reserves to balance the spending plan.
During Nov. 1’s commissioners meeting, Township Manager Craig Lloyd gave the first “reading of the budget,” which calls for spending $3,069,414 in 2018, which Lloyd said is $87,905 more than 2017’s budget.
He also said it will require $1,367,079 from the township’s “reserve” account, built up into the millions over the years West Pottsgrove received a “host fee” from the now closed Pottstown Landfill.
That reserve fund was down between $14 million and $15 million as of last year.
Lloyd said the reserve fund withdrawal is $80,000 less than was withdrawn last year. Interest earnings replace some of the funds withdrawn every year to balance the budget.
The largest single cost in the budget is the police department, which in 2018 stands to cost $1,455,531 under the draft budget, an increase of $105,842.
Lloyd said health insurance costs increased by 18 percent,
which added $57,000 to the budget. And $36,000 of that increase occurred in the police budget.
Chief Matt Stofflet said the only major expense for the coming year would be the purchase of a new police car.
Also a factor is the 2.5 percent pay raise the uniformed officers will enjoy in 2018, which is on top of the 2.5 percent raise they received this year and the 3.5 percent raise coming in 2019.
Add those things and the increase in pension payments and its not too hard to get to an increase of $105,842 said Lloyd, which Stofflet called “the increased cost of operations.”
Lloyd said the two other major revenue sources, besides the reserve fund, is the $450,200 the budget will see from real estate taxes and the $448,175 from the earned income tax.
More than $200,00 will come from state and grant funds and $241,000 from the state’s liquid fuels fund, which will be used to pave roads.
In other news, Commissioners’ Chairman Steve Miller appointed Commissioners Charles Valentine and Pete LaRosa to a committee to look into whether the township swimming pool can be opened next summer.
He requested a formal recommendation by March. The pool closed halfway through the season in 2016 and did not open in 2017.