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Borough Faces $341,000 Deficit

The West Chester Borough faces a deficit of $341,000 for 2013.

The West Chester Borough budget for 2013 makes council member John Manion sick to his stomach.

“We had a draft budget ready to go,” Manion said at Tuesday night’s borough finance committee meeting.  “But then we got some bad news on Monday when Thornbury Township decided to go with WEGO.”

The borough had been in talks with Thornbury Township to provide police services after Thornbury originally dropped out of the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department contract negotiations.

The deal with West Chester would have brought in an extra $800,000 for the borough.

“We drafted a budget with Thornbury built in.  Now we have to work towards balancing the budget,” Manion said.

As it stands now, the borough faces a budget deficit of $341,791.

To make matters worse, the borough is also facing a pension obligation for 2013 of $526,907 as part of that deficit.

“These issues have to be addressed in some way,” Manion said.  “But I’m not sure I have the answer.”

Manion threw out several suggestions about how the borough could make up its deficit.

“It always comes down to increasing revenue or decreasing services,” Manion said.

Both Manion and council member Jordan Norley said they would not be in favor of a tax increase.

“I’m not in favor in increasing the tax rate in any way,” Norley said.  “If we keep upping taxes then we won’t provide an incentive for people to move or work in the borough.”

Among the other suggestions made by the finance committee were creating a storm water fee, charging a trash pickup fee and reducing funding to the Business Improvement District.

Currently, the Business Improvement District receives $85,000 from the borough to help foster growth and business in downtown West Chester.  Norley suggested reducing that number to $15,000.

“Eventually we’re going to get to a tipping point,” Manion said.  “There’s already a significant tax burden on the residents.  These issues need to be addressed in someway.” 

Borough Council has until November to propose a balanced budget that will be voted on in December. Any new fee or taxes would be announced at that time.

Milton Bradley October 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Connect the dots. Follow the suggestions of the resident ad-hoc financial committee that was formed by borough council members. They made many sound recommendations on how the borough can save money. Take home vehicles for borough employees paid for by the borough? Absolutely ridiculous. Top to bottom, take the privilege away. These times are about economic sacrifice. BID receives $85,000 a year from borough coffers? How long has this been going on? BID has been in the game enough to have figured out how to be financially self-sufficient. That they have not is suspect enough. How about an comprehensive audit of BID. $15,000? No, take it all away. Enough is enough. For more recommendations on cost savings go to borough website and read the Citizens Financial Advisory Report. Although I see, as titled, they only have an interim report posted? No final report? I do see though that they have the borough manager's knee-jerk defensive review of the financial advisory report posted.
Virginia Stoltzfus October 11, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I certainly agree with the reply above. It is no wonder that West Chester is in this situation. They spend money like it is going out of style. Who paid for the monster offices on Westtown Rd., then decided this was a bad idea, and low and beold they had to build big wonderful, modern, up to date new office building for borough officials. It hasn't been too terribly long ago that W.C. had a surplus. Instead of giving the tax payers a break, they went on this spending spree and are still going. What a pity that we can't trust these people.
nona October 11, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Milton Bradley for Borough Manager. Agreed, follow the ad hoc financial committee's advice... why else was the committee formed?
Richard Bowers October 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Virginia...the offices on Westtown Rd are for the County...not the Borough...Tsk...Tsk
Milton Bradley October 11, 2012 at 05:36 PM
The basic priorities of the town are a little out of whack. The borough manger, law firm and zoning officer have all been working together for about 25 years now. The town should be running like a fine tuned watch regardless of national economic concerns . Council members come and go. What's the deal? Does fault lay at the feet of the town's residents? Out of whack... the borough has six parking garages (one belongs to the county) yet the borough's one community swimming pool lays dormant for ten years (google Daily Local News for story)? What is up with that? Sorry I had to go the garage example, but its relevant. What an analogy. This time around I believe council will do the right thing when it comes time for the final budgetary vote. This collective group seems willing to at least weigh opposing sides of an argument before voting. The current council president, Brown, had a big hand in forming the financial advisory group. They have some very tough, unpopular decisions/votes to make. That of course, though, is what they were elected to do when needed. That time is now.
nona October 11, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Milton Bradley for Governor!!
Milton Bradley October 11, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Nona, For this evening I reserved my usual corner suite at the Warner, the one that underlooks the Chestnut St parking garage. 9 pm. Wear that Victoria Secrets thing I got you. I'll be in my borough manager outfit. I got the bubbly covered. Later
Jimmy Beeker October 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Here are some ideas: Turn Market Street into a toll road. Free to get into WC, $.50 to get out. Sell "premium" parking permits and install "premium" parking meters in front of shops and stores - rates are 3x. A tax on coffee. Tax students going to WCU. Increase the fines for tossing trash (cigarette butts) - oops, taken. Don't pay city workers for the hour they spend at Wawa each day.

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