I am pleased to present to Borough Council the Proposed 2016 operating budget, totaling $6.5 million.
As fiscal year 2015 comes to an end, the figures indicate that revenue will exceed budgeted expectations. The 01 General Fund which comprises 56.11 % of the budget and carries the lion share of the Borough’s operating expenses is currently in sound financial standing. The increase in revenue allowed for continued investment in Borough owned infrastructure, the settlement of inherited debt and the covering of the cost increase of the associated JPD collective bargaining agreement with no recommendation to increase the tax millage in the 01 General Fund.
All funds with the exception of the Fire Funds, are currently adequately funded to remain self sustaining at current expenses and will carry at minimum, the fund balance recommended by Government accounting guidelines.
The proposed 2016 budget contains a proposal to increase the tax millage by .15 mils dedicated to the 04 Fire Apparatus Fund. On the average assessed value of $150,000, this would be a $22.50 annual tax increase.
The 04 Fire Apparatus fund was created in 2011 solely for capital costs projected by future apparatus needs of the Jenkintown Fire Department. An independent comprehensive study was commissioned to evaluate the JFD as well as assist in planning for their future capital expenses. That study, (“The Jenaway Study”), recommended a fund be created to plan for the replacement of the Borough fire trucks. The study recommended a .45 tax millage be allocated to the fund. The recommendation was to incrementally raise the tax millage annually by .15 mils until the tax levy equaled .45 mils. The fund was established and the tax millage was set at .15 mils in 2011 and increased to .30 mils in 2012. The third increase, of .15 mils, has not taken place since that time.
The 04 Fire Apparatus Fund projected 2015 year end Fund Balance is $539,227. The current appropriated tax millage of .30 produces an annual revenue of $85,135. An increase of .15 mils to a total of .45 mils would produce a annual revenue of $125,149. The first fire truck replacement is projected for 2019 and is currently estimated to cost 1 to 1.2 million dollars.
Borough Councils stated goal was to have no tax millage increase in the 01 General Fund for 2016. This goal was realized through increased revenue, several cost reduction measures, and the combined efforts of value management by administrative staff, department managers and Borough Council.
Planned projects for 2016 will include, but are not limited to; continued upgrades to Borough infrastructure, a comprehensive paving program, construction of the associated accessible ADA curb cut ramp construction, installation of information and technology hardware / software & associated securities, modernization of all Borough technologies, increased involvement in social media, installation of new and upgrade to existing school zone warning lights, signage throughout the Borough, stormwater inlet rehabilitation and the replacement of community playground equipment.
Jenkintown Borough is also pleased to partner with the Montgomery County Planning Commission. This collaborative effort will allow Jenkintown Borough to benefit from the talented team of County Professional Planners as we undertake a complete upgrade of the Comprehensive plan. The most current Revitalization Plan has been so successful that new goals will be updated in that as well.
In comparison to the prior 3 years, the tax assessment reduction appeals have slowed and stabilized, and the real estate assessment for Jenkintown Borough provided by the Montgomery County Board of Assessment has a slight decrease in the amount of $17,150 for 2016.
2015 – MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Completed the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation H2O Grant Project & Cedar to Walnut Stormwater Improvement Project. Closeout Audit of the H2O Grant project completed and submitted with no “findings”.
- Restructured the Borough Administration to include a Finance Director that now assists Borough Council, Department Heads and the Borough Manager in the common goal of providing the best possible services at the lowest possible costs to the Borough’s tax payers.
- Developed a cooperative parking share agreement with property owners to provide night time parking to Borough businesses.
- Implemented Information Technology software that allows for better management of all Borough accounts and funds.
- Improved electronic communications and social media platforms.
- Launched and worked to optimize a new Borough website and Facebook page.
- Fostered a productive partnership with the Montgomery County Planning Commission, and established a Steering Committee to produce a new Borough wide “2035” Comprehensive Plan.
- Improved Borough information technology equipment, software systems and storage / security of protected information.
- Continued infrastructure improvement projects including implementing the five year paving project and storm water inlet replacements / repairs.
- Created infrastructure project coordination with utility providers (Gas, Electric & Water) to improve safety, minimize disruption to services, maximize cost savings and minimize disruption to Jenkintown Borough tax payers.
- Expanded liquid fuels paving program that allowed the Borough to catch up on the paving of Borough roads that could not be done during the downturn of the economy.
- Continued Borough wide street sign replacement program with high reflectivity signage.
- Implemented replacement and installation of traffic safety striping with upgraded thermo-plastic material.
- Paved 3.5 miles of roads and several road base repairs made to extend the life of existing roads.
- Installed 12 ADA accessible curb cut ramps.
- Negotiated cooperative paving projects with PECO to pave more roads in 2015 at a cost savings to the Borough tax payers.
- Negotiated a four year collective bargaining agreement with the Jenkintown Borough Police Department.
- Maintained cooperative efforts with developers and property owners to populate the commercial districts and revitalize the flourishing business district.
- Project coordination for installation of the School Zone Safety signals on Walnut Street and replacement of existing school zone warning lights on West Avenue.
- Implemented processes and procedures to provide preventative maintenance on Borough owned equipment extending the life of that equipment.
2016 – GOALS
- Continue a productive partnership with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to produce a new Borough wide Comprehensive Plan and update the Revitalization plan.
- Work identifying, obtaining and applying for grant opportunities that apply to the Borough’s specific needs.
- Continue infrastructure improvement projects including implementing the five year paving project and storm water inlet replacements / repairs.
- Expand liquid fuels paving program that will allow the Borough to catch up on the paving of Borough roads that could not be done during the downturn of the economy.
- Continue Borough wide street sign replacement program with high reflectivity signage.
- Continue efforts on cooperative initiative projects with the Jenkintown Borough School District.
- Continue a productive partnership with the Jenkintown Environmental Committee, the Jenkintown Shade Tree Commission, and the Jenkintown Recreation Board.
- Continue efforts to administer Council’s policy of consciously balancing a business friendly atmosphere while insuring the required codes and laws are followed.
- Continue the installation of School Zone signals on Walnut Street and replacement of existing school zone warning lights on West Avenue.
- Establish a Capital Plan for repair and replacement of Borough owned assets.
- Continue coordinated efforts with PaDep, Philadelphia Water, Cheltenham and Abington Townships to comply with PaDep mandated sanitary sewer regulations.
- Continue administering Council’s policies that ensure that Jenkintown Borough continues to be an inclusive, safe, family friendly community, rich in character that remains a desirable place to live and flourish.
2016 total assessed valuation, provided by Montgomery County is $289,575,839. The tax millage is allocated as follows, based on a 98% collection rate:
General Fund 4.530 mills $1,259,832
Street Light Fund 0.202 mills $ 56,178
Fire Protection 0.440 mills $ 122,368
Fire Apparatus 0.450 mills $ 125,149
Library 0.826 mills $ 229,718
Street Tax 0.265 mills $ 73,699
Debt Service 0.880 mills $ 244,736
Total Real Estate Tax millage 7.593 mills $ 2,111,679
On December 14, 2015, the Jenkintown Borough Council adopted the 2016 Operating Budget.