I am pleased to present to Borough Council the Proposed 2017 Annual Budget, totaling $7.2 million.
The 2016  General Fund revenue, allowed for continued investment in Borough owned infrastructure. A significant portion of the  General Fund revenues are generated from the Act 511 taxes, which are mostly paid by Businesses, Employers and Commercial Property Owners. While those revenues were steady in 2016, there were significant (six figure) returns that had to be issued from this classification of taxes. These one-time expenses were generated by those Commercial tax payers who were mistakenly paying the incorrect Municipality. The Borough is working with our third party collection agency to reduce and/or eliminate future occurrences of this liability. The prior expenses of the settlement of inherited debt and the covering of the cost increase of the associated JPD collective bargaining agreement were successfully absorbed by the previous fund cash balances created by increased revenue of the ACT 511 taxes. In 2017 the 01 General Fund comprises 53.7 % of the budget and carries the majority of the Borough’s operating expenses. The fund is currently in sound financial standing and carries the recommended Government Accounting fund cash balance.
Borough Council’s stated goal was to have no tax millage increase in the 01 General Fund in the 2017 budget. This goal was once again accomplished by prudently utilizing cash fund balances accumulated from previous increased revenues, several cost reduction measures, and the combined efforts of value management by administrative staff, department managers, Borough Council and third party professionals.
All funds with the exception of the  Fire Protection Fund, are currently adequately funded and will carry, at minimum, the fund balance recommended by Government accounting guidelines.
The proposed 2017 Borough Operating Budget does however contain a proposal to increase the tax millage dedicated to the  Fire Fund by .16 mils. On the average assessed value of $150,000, this would be a $24.00 annual tax increase.
The  Fire Protection Fund receives dedicated millage to fund the operations of the Jenkintown Borough Fire Department. The allocated tax millage rate in this fund has not been increased in ten (10) years having been raised to its current level in 2006. In the past year Borough Council has commissioned a Training and Operation Guideline Study and an Audit of the Fire House Contributions prior to proposing to increase the millage to this fund. Borough Council assigned a sub-committee to work with the two Fire Chiefs and William Jenaway of VFIS to perform the evaluations and implement the recommendations.
The tax assessment reduction appeals have slowed and somewhat stabilized, and to date the real estate assessment for Jenkintown Borough provided by the Montgomery County Board of Assessment has a slight decrease in the amount of $9,094 for 2017.
Furthermore, infrastructure upgrade work will be continuing throughout the upcoming year. PennDOT and SEPTA are slated to begin the replacement of the Noble Station bridge on RT 611 in late 2017.
Other planned projects for 2017 will include, but are not limited to; a cost saving conversion to LED Street and traffic control lighting, continued upgrades to sanitary sewer infrastructure, a comprehensive paving program, construction of the associated accessible ADA curb cut ramp construction, modernization of all Borough technologies, increased involvement in social media, installation of new and upgrade to existing school zone warning lights, high reflectivity signage throughout the Borough, stormwater inlet rehabilitation, and the replacement of community playground equipment.
Jenkintown Borough is also pleased to continue its partnership with the Montgomery County Planning Commission. This collaborative effort allowed Jenkintown Borough to benefit from the talented team of County Professional Planners as we undertook a complete upgrade of the Comprehensive Plan. The “2035 Comprehensive Plan” is in its final stages of completion and it is expected to be released in the Spring of 2017. Borough Council has allocated funds in the 2017 Budget to allow the Borough to move forward with the recommendations of the plan, once the plan is finalized and released.
2016 – MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
• Completed the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Study which included recording, evaluating, as well as recommending required corrections and the most cost effective means and methods to accomplish the repairs.
• Borough Administration recruited a new Finance Director, one that possessed a strong professional background in finance and budgeting, as well as with managerial and leadership experience to assist in the common goal of providing the best possible services at the lowest possible costs to the Borough’s tax payers.
• Continued cultivating cooperative parking share agreements with property owners to provide night time parking for Borough businesses.
• Implemented Information Technology software that allows for better management of all Borough accounts and funds.
• Continued to improve 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.
• Continued infrastructure improvement projects including implementing the paving program 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.
• Completed several road base repairs made to extend the life of existing roads.
• Installed 12 ADA accessible curb cut ramps.
• Maintained cooperative efforts with developers and property owners to populate the commercial districts and revitalize the flourishing business district.
• Coordinated projects for installation of the School Zone Safety signals on Walnut Street and replacement of existing school zone warning lights on West Avenue.
• Coordinated projects for the planning, and implementation of new School Zone Safety signage on Greenwood Avenue.
• Implemented processes and procedures to provide preventative maintenance on Borough owned equipment extending the life of that equipment.
2017 – GOALS
• Continue a productive partnership with the Montgomery County Planning Commission to produce a new Borough Comprehensive Plan and update the Revitalization plan.
• Work identifying, obtaining and applying for grant opportunities that meet the Borough’s specific needs.
• Coordinate with DCNR, DVRPC and MCPC to obtain public input in order to prepare concept drawings of the proposed open space on Cedar Street. Once concept drawings are established these entities will be approached for grant funding opportunities for the project.
• Negotiate cooperative paving projects with neighboring Municipalities to pave more roads in 2017 at a cost savings to the Borough tax payers.
• Continue infrastructure improvement projects including implementing the paving project and storm water inlet replacements / repairs.
• Continue Borough wide street sign replacement program with high reflectivity signage.
• Continue efforts on cooperative initiatives and projects with the Jenkintown Borough School District.
• 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.
2017 total assessed valuation, provided by Montgomery County is $287,485,559. The tax millage is allocated as follows, based on a 98% collection rate:
General Fund 4.530 mills $1,250,738
Street Light Fund 0.202 mills $55,772
Fire Protection 0.600 mills $165,661
Fire Apparatus 0.450 mills $124,246
Library 0.826 mills $228,060
Street Tax 0.265 mills $73,167
Debt Service 0.880 mills $242,969
Total Real Estate Tax millage 7.753 mills $2,140,613
On December 12, 2016, the Jenkintown Borough Council adopted the 2017 Operating Budget. The 2017 Budget can be found here.