I am pleased to present to Borough Council the Proposed 2018 Annual Budget, totaling $8.5 million.
The 2017  General Fund revenue, met expectations and 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 2017, there was again significant (six figure) returns that had to be issued from this classification of taxes. In most cases these one-time expenses were generated by those commercial tax payers who were mistakenly paying the incorrect municipality. To this end, the Borough has hired a third party tax collection specialist to assist in reducing and/or eliminating future occurrences of this liability.
Moreover, 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 which was created through increased revenue of the ACT 511 taxes. In 2018 the 01 General Fund comprises 45.6 % of the budget and carries the majority of the Borough’s operating expenses. The fund is currently solvent and continues to carry the recommended Government Accounting fund cash balance. Furthermore, all funds with the exception of the  Solid Waste Fund, are currently adequately funded and will carry, at minimum, the fund balance recommended by Government accounting guidelines. The proposed 2018 Jenkintown Borough Budget does however contain a proposal to increase the Solid Waste collection fee. The  Solid Waste Collection Fund is a proprietary fund that is established to pay the contracted costs to collect, haul and dispose of trash and recycling waste from Jenkintown Borough properties. The competitively bid contract included an increase for services.
That said, Borough Council’s stated goal is to have no tax millage increase in the 2018 budget. This goal has 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.
Additionally, 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 $7,890 for 2018.
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 2018. This is another major undertaking. The current proposed plan is to leave the bridge open and reduce traffic to one lane in each direction as the other portion of the bridge is reconstructed.
Other planned projects for 2018 will include, but are not limited to: a cost saving conversion to LED traffic control lighting, continued upgrades to sanitary sewer infrastructure, Storm drainage/ pedestrian walkways and traffic light up grades at Washington and Greenwood Avenues, a comprehensive paving program, construction of the associated accessible ADA curb cut ramp construction, continued planning and construction of the Cedar Street / Moretti parklet, modernization of all Borough technologies, increased use of social media as a means of communicating with residents, the addition of more high reflectivity signage throughout the Borough, rehabilitation of stormwater inlet, 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 now available in draft form and the 45 day comment period is underway. The plan is expected to be adopted and released in the Spring of 2018. Borough Council has allocated funds in the 2018 Budget to allow the Borough to begin moving forward with the recommendations of the plan.
2017 – MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Grant Funding – The Borough Administration through the Administration and Finance Committee, identified grant funding sources for necessary Revitalization, Capital Project/Infrastructure projects within the Borough. The Borough individually applied and received approximately $841,000 in grant funding for projects in 2017. Additionally, the Borough filed a joint municipal grant application with Abington Township to improve pedestrian safety, upgrade traffic control lights and mitigate flooding at the intersection of Washington lane and Greenwood Avenue. That joint Municipal grant was awarded in the amount of one (1) million dollars.
- Sanitary Sewer – Utilizing the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Study performed in 2016, the Borough identified a State grant to fund the required sanitary sewer repairs on the Borough owned sanitary sewer mains. The Borough applied for and received the grant; bid, awarded and began the project the last month of 2017.
- Infrastructure upgrades – 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. PECO Gas installed two (2) miles of HP Gas main, new services and safety meters. PECO Electric installed eighty five (85) new electric poles Borough wide as well as underground wiring and equipment upgrades throughout the business district. Aqua Pennsylvania installed one half (1/2) mile of new high capacity watermains. Jenkintown Borough installed four hundred and twenty (420) LED streetlights. Jenkintown Borough installed ten (10) storm water inlets and associated piping. Jenkintown Borough also continued the comprehensive paving project, there was one and a half (1.5) miles of roadway repaved and three (3) miles of residential sidewalk evaluated and improvements made to bring the sidewalks back in to code compliance. Installed 8 ADA accessible curb cut ramps. JBPWD completed several road base repairs aimed to extend the life of those existing roads.
- Borough Administration – worked to implement cost saving measures established by the new Finance Director, worked toward the common goal of providing the best possible services at the lowest possible costs to the Borough’s tax payers. Added a part time Fire Marshal / Property Maintenance Inspector to staff. This has been very successful in being able to Administer Council’s policies as they apply to Public Safety, Property Maintenance and Revitalization.
- Parking – Continued cultivating cooperative parking share agreements with property owners to provide night time parking for Borough businesses. Modernization of parking meters and installation of additional kiosk pay stations.
- CLEARGOV – Implemented financial reporting software “CLEARGOV” that allows for public access and review of all Borough funding revenues / expenditures. Jenkintown Borough was the first Municipality in Pennsylvania to provide this software, placing the Borough in the forefront of Municipal financial transparency.
- Information Technology – Continued to improve electronic communications and social media platforms including the new Borough website and Facebook page. IT improvements included providing ‘live real time feed” of all Borough Council meetings on the Borough website and IT security upgrades.
- Municipal Planning – Fostered a productive partnership with the Montgomery County Planning Commission, and established a Steering Committee to produce a new Borough wide “2035” Comprehensive Plan.
- Highway Safety – Continued Borough wide street sign replacement program with high reflectivity signage. Implemented replacement and installation of traffic safety striping with upgraded thermo-plastic material.
- Revitalization – Maintained cooperative efforts with developers and property owners to populate the commercial districts and revitalize the flourishing business district.
- School Zone Safety – Completed projects for installation of the School Zone Safety signals on Walnut Street and replacement of existing school zone warning lights on West Avenue. Completed project for the planning, and installation of new School Zone Safety signage on Greenwood Avenue.
- Borough Code Update – Reviewed and revised Borough Code Chapter 156 Streets & Sidewalks bringing the Code current with improved construction means and methods as well as current Borough standards. Reviewed and revised several Chapters of Borough Code including fire safety.
2018 – GOALS
- Community Planning – Continue to foster our productive partnership with the Montgomery County Planning Commission. Work to adopt, enact and begin implementing “Jenkintown 2035” Jenkintown Borough Comprehensive Plan, update the Revitalization Plan.
- Grant Funding – Work to identify, obtain and apply for grant opportunities that meet the Borough’s specific needs.
- Cedar Street/Moretti Parklet – Coordinate with the Parklet Sub-Committee, DCNR, DCRPC 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, work with these entities to identify and obtain grant funding opportunities specific to this project.
- Sanitary Sewer Projects – The replacement of the sanitary conveyance system carrying Borough sewer through Cheltenham Township and on to the Philadelphia waste water treatment plant began in late 2017. The Borough’s portion of the repair is approximately one and a half (1.5) million dollars. In preparation for this project Jenkintown Borough commissioned a sewer rate study and set the sewer rate so that the cost of financing this project would be accounted for. The additional funds realized by these actions appear to be adequate to cover the projected construction costs. In 2017, the first payment of $210,000 was made for construction costs associated with this project. The Borough will be bidding this borrowing to obtain the lowest possible interest rate and costs. The importance of the installation of this conveyance can not be overstated. The Borough has been under strict regulatory control by the PaDEP as it applies to sanitary sewer flow and connections. Installation of this conveyance system and continued repairs of Borough owned sewer mains will reduce and eventually eliminate the strict controls imposed by the PaDEP.
- Joint Municipal Partnerships – Negotiate cooperative projects with neighboring municipalities in order to continue stormwater, sewer, paving and traffic/street lighting projects at a cost savings to the Borough tax payers.
- Infrastructure Upgrades – Complete the PECO utility pole project, coordinate efforts with Aqua Pennsylvania to install new water mains on Washington lane closing the loop with completed water main upgrades, complete the PECO gas main installation on the East side of town. The 2018 Borough paving project and storm water inlet replacements / repairs.
- Street Sign Replacement – Continue the Borough wide street sign replacement program with high reflectivity signage.
- JSD – Remain committed to fostering our partnership with the school community and to coordinating efforts when and where possible.
- Commercial Growth – Continue efforts to welcome businesses into the borough and to administer Council’s policy of consciously balancing a business friendly atmosphere while insuring the required codes and laws are followed.
- Capital Plan – Establish a formal plan for repair and replacement of Borough owned assets.
- Community Well-Being – Continue administering Council’s policies in order to ensure that Jenkintown Borough continues to be an inclusive, safe, family-friendly desirable community to live.
2018 total assessed valuation, provided by Montgomery County is $286,425,959. The tax millage is allocated as follows, based on a 98% collection rate:
General Fund 4.530 mills $1,246,128
Street Light Fund 0.202 mills $55,567
Fire Protection 0.600 mills $165,050
Fire Apparatus 0.450 mills $123,788
Library 0.826 mills $227,219
Street Tax 0.265 mills $72,897
Debt Service 0.880 mills $242,073
Total Real Estate Tax millage 7.753 mills $2,132,722
On December 11, 2017, the Jenkintown Borough Council adopted the 2018 Operating Budget. The 2018 Budget can be found here.