KSQ Council Sets Sights on 2018 Budget

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By Eliza Mohler, Staff Writer, The Times

A snapshot from the proposed 2018 budget for Kennett Square.

KENNETT – The Kennett Square Borough Council was looking at both sides of the coin as they previewed the 2018 budget at last Monday night’s meeting.

The highlights of the proposed budget include no tax increases, a 3.0% increase in uniformed and non-uniformed wages, no increase in water and sewer fees, and a decrease in solid waste disposal fees.

There will be an increase in metered parking fees, as well as a $1.5 million parking garage expansion, which is partially covered by a $500,000 grant. Parking garage-related repairs expected to cost $130,000 are also planned, as are $1.3 million in waste water treatment plant upgrades.

Other items covered under the 2018 budget include strategic planning for the council, mayor and borough staff, which Borough Manager Joe Scalise noted has not been done for the past few years, as well as a citizen survey, which was last done in 2012. Scalise said the only proposed new debt is approximately $1 million for parking revenue bonds.

During the budget presentation, Scalise also reviewed the financial accomplishments to date for 2017.

“Parking revenue is up, despite the meters not working sometimes,” he said.

The Kennett Square Police Department reallocated funds to purchase vehicles and equipment, and the borough retired $840,129 in debt.  Council member Jamie Mallon asked Scalise how much debt the borough currently has, and Scalise replied that the figure is around $11 million.

Council member Wayne Braffman said to Scalise, “I think that list of accomplishments for 2017 is pretty impressive. You and Lisa (Ionata, the new borough finance director) have done a great job of making the information easier to find and more accessible.”

“This was a tougher budget than the past year, and we’ve already got some ideas for 2019,” Scalise said. Council Vice President Geoff Bosley also praised Scalise and Ionata for their work. The second budget presentation will be given at the next council meeting on Monday, November 20, which will be held at the Red Clay Room at 423 Dalmation Street.

The council discussed Governor Tom Wolf’s recent approval of House Bill 271, which allows for four new licensed gaming facilities in Pennsylvania. Local municipalities have the option to opt out of permitting such a facility to be built in their area by December 31, 2017, but they can opt back in at a later date if they change their minds. Scalise asked if council wanted to opt out before the end of the year, and the members said yes. Scalise will prepare the formal resolution to opt out, which will be presented at a future meeting. “We get the best of both worlds by opting out,” President Danilo Maffei said.

Scalise made a recommendation that the road salt bid for the 2017-18 winter season be awarded to Eastern Salt, who had the lowest bid at $53.80 per ton of salt. The council approved the awarding unanimously.

Borough Secretary Karen Scherer swears in Council Vice President Geoff Bosley as an alternate representative to the Civil Service Commission.

In other news, Matt Wilhelm resigned from the Historical Architecture Review Board committee due to professional commitments. Silvia Mohan was appointed to fill the rest of Wilhelm’s term, which runs until January 2020. Bosley was appointed as an alternate representative to the Civil Service Commission. The term expires on January 1, 2019. Borough Secretary Karen Scherer swore Bosley in, since Mayor Matt Fetick was not at the meeting.

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