Pocopson Township to hold line on taxes

Pocopson Township residents will not see their taxes increase in 2017.

Pocopson Township Supervisors Alice Balsama (from left), Elaine DiMonte, and Ricki Stumpo assemble for Monday night's meeting.

Pocopson Township Supervisors Alice Balsama (from left), Elaine DiMonte, and Ricki Stumpo assemble for Monday night's meeting.

The supervisors adopted a 2017 budget at their Nov. 28 meeting that keeps tax rates at 2.2 mills and projects an overall fund balance of $1.97 million by the end of 2017. (A mill is $1 for every $100 of assessed valuation.)

The budget also keeps the earned-income and net-profit tax at half a percent, which supports general township operations, supplements the state funding allocated to road maintenance, and contributes to the capital reserve fund for vehicle and equipment purchases. Supervisors’ Vice Chairman Elaine DiMonte suggested the supervisors post a paragraph on the township website explaining why they kept the EIT.

The EIT is levied on earnings of $12,000 or more, according to township Treasurer Peggy Lennon.

Previous discussions about the EIT included researching alternative taxes to cover what amounts to half of Pocopson’s annual general fund revenues. Eliminating the EIT would have left the township without enough funding to cover the $1.9 million of projected expenses in 2017, according to minutes from the Aug. 16 budget work session.

Besides the EIT and a real-estate transfer tax, Pocopson’s 2017 budget includes one mill for open space, 0.5 mills for general operation, 0.5 mills for fire protection, and 0.2 mills for ambulance and other emergency services.

Overall income for 2017 is estimated to be $3.5 million, and overall expenses are estimated at $3.7 million. The township will start the new year with fund balances totaling $2.2 million, according to township officials. The open space tax is estimated to generate $329,095 in 2017.

The Highway Aid Fund should receive some income from the sale of a 2000 International dump truck, which supervisors authorized through a resolution adopted Monday. Planned projects include chip-sealing Davidson and Hickory Hill, and also paving Folly Hill and finishing Brandywine Hills, according to the budget documents.

The budget will also earmark funds in 2017 for a feasibility study of the Barnard House and the current township office space. The request for proposal has already been prepared and sent out.

The status of the Barnard House, a historic building that has generated substantial controversy since its purchase from the county for $1 in 2008, remains uncertain. Originally envisioned as the home of the Kennett Underground Railroad Center as well as the township’s offices, the supervisors backed off the latter use due to escalating renovation costs and a building layout that some consultants found unworkable for municipal use.

The adopted township budget will be available online at www.pocopson.org.

In other business, Brad Peiper, one of Pocopson’s representatives on the Kennett Library board, updated the supervisors on the plans for a new library facility as well as the search for a new library director, who is expected to be named by the end of the year.

A final concept plan of the new facility is due by the end of January, Peiper said. Possible plans include building a three-story facility in “downtown Kennett,” with the first floor being occupied by municipal and police offices. Peiper said the architects are sensitive to concerns about the police offices in close proximity to the library, so the concept plan includes entrances with as much separation as possible.

Finally, the supervisors agreed to arrange a meeting between themselves, an official from the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, a representative from the Riverside Homeowners' Association, and representatives of Ducklings Early Learning Center, which is building a new location in the Riverside subdivision. Scott Kirkland, the Riverside HOA  president, explained at Monday’s meeting that he has fielded concerns from parents about one current bus stop location at the construction entrance that is deemed “very unsafe for students.”


About Monica Fragale

Monica Thompson Fragale is a freelance reporter who spent her life dreaming of being in the newspaper business. That dream came true after college when she started working at The Kennett Paper and, years later The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale and other dailies. She turned to non-profit work after her first daughter was born and spent the next 13 years in that field. But while you can take the girl out of journalism, you can’t take journalism out of the girl. Offers to freelance sparked the writing bug again started her fingers happily tapping away on the keyboard. Monica lives with her husband and two children in Kennett Square.



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