Thursday, February 8, 2018

Committee Can't Find Ways to Cut 12% Tax Hike

The long wait to see how a special council ad hoc committee would be able to lower this year's 12 percent tax hike came to and end last night.

The short answer is, they can't.

In a letter to council (which was mysteriously missing from the links of other documents on the agenda), the seven members of committee said none of the options they explored could be implemented in time to affect this year's budget.

Sadly, this was not a check to solve the borough's fiscal woes, but a 
$1,900 check from the Pottstown Rotary Club to help with upkeep 
and repairs to the war memorials in Memorial Park.
They recommended keeping the millage adopted in December -- which represents a 12 percent increase over last year's rate.

They also noted that the borough has been notified that its bond rating may be downgraded "if finances don't immediately improve."

The group will continue to meet and any savings resulting from short-term suggestions should be directed to the general fund reserves -- the same reserves council raided for the past three years to keep taxes down.

Reserves are also needed, they wrote "to re-establish contributions to the capital fund deficit of approximately $1 million."

Short-term suggestions include more closely assessing the services provided by an employee and adjusting the fee schedule to better recoup costs; as well as cease the Wednesday night late hours from 4 to 7 p.m. in order to save on over time and heating and lighting costs.

As these things are going on, the borough will also be benefiting from a consultant paid for by the state's Early Intervention Program, who will be tasked with finding ways to further streamline and bolster the borough's finances.

Other suggestions include moving to a "cashless" system for paying utility bills and taxes which will ultimately allow for the elimination of one of the window positions.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

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