The Borough of West Chester is facing a $1.7-million-dollar deficit
As we’ve been aware of for a while now, the Borough of West Chester is in a bit of a financial crisis. Significant cuts and postponements were made to the 2020 budget to drag expenses back in line with revenues which are down significantly due to the pandemic. Now as we turn to look ahead at 2021, we begin to see the full effects of these cuts.
Last month the Borough Department heads met to make their initial 2021 budget presentations to the Borough’s Finance and Revenue committee and the general takeaway is, if nothing changes, the Borough is expecting a nearly $1.7-million-dollar-deficit to its general fund next year. There are generally two ways to deal with a budget deficit: cut projects or raise taxes.
This Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. the Finance and Revenue committee along with Borough Manager Mike Perrone, and Finance Director Barbara Lionti, will meet again, this time to discuss one of these options – a possible property tax increase for 2021 – and you are invited to join. So you are prepared for Wednesday’s call, here’s a review of your options.
Option 1: Raise taxes
According to documentation provided in the Preliminary 2021 Budget, “millage would need to be increased to 9.20 [from 6.96] to fund the deficit in the General Fund.” For the average resident this would mean a real estate tax increase of $306.
Now if you don’t want to raise taxes, the other option is to cut expenses.
Option 2: Budget cuts
The preliminary budget also includes the list of capital projects being requested by the departments. Now since this is a budget document there is not a lot of detail about the proposed projects outside a brief description, their estimated cost and the department that requested them.
2021 Capital/Equipment Projects as requested by Department
Information Technology Services – total request $20K
- AC Unit for Server Room (IT) 20,000
Fire Department – total request $1.925 million
- 3 Squad Vehicles – 375,000
- 2 Fire Trucks (2020 Carryover) – 1,550,000
Police Department – total request $189K
- AED Replacement – 10,000
- Firearms – 24,000
- 2 Police Vehicles 120,000
- BID Cameras – 35,000
Parks & Recreation – total request $200K
- Marshall Square Park Playground Upgrade – 45,000
- Hoopes Park Improvements – 25,000
- Everhart Park Upgrades – 130,000
Waste Water – total request $1.145M
- Taylor Run Filter Project (2020 Carryover) – 550,000
- Goose Creek Electrical Substation Upgrade (2020 Carryover) – 100,000
- Taylor Run Gas Recirculation (2020 Carryover) – 110,000
- Sewer Relining Project – 385,000
Parking Services – total request $1.42M
- Bicentennial Garage Roof Repair – 300,000
- 70 Kiosks – 600,000
- Structural Analysis for 2 Garages – 120,000
- Painting in the Garages – 50,000
- Chestnut Garage Repairs – 350,000
Public Works – total request $148K
- Public Works Garage AC Ventilation 18,000
- Street Lights Node Installation (PW) 130,000
If you have questions or would like to learn more about the Borough’s financial situation and how it may affect you, be sure to attend tomorrow’s meeting. The Finance meeting is virtual and a link to the Webex can be found on the Borough website home page.
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