Bud­get calls for no tax hike

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

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.

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