No tax increase in Kennett Township

In 2020, Kennett Township supervisors will help support the new library construction — but without the use of a tax increase. But sewer rates are going up.

The supervisors unanimously approved the township’s 2020 budgets in a special meeting Monday night. The township will still contribute toward the new library, but the money in 2020 will come from an expected revenue surplus in the general operating fund instead of from a six-year tax increase.

“The budget has been modestly amended,” Township Manager Eden Ratliff said. “That contribution is still in there, but there’s no tax increase.”

Funding the 2020 library contribution will leave $40,396 in the surplus, according to Ratliff.

The temporary tax increase had been included in the preliminary budget presented earlier in December. Ratliff said the supervisors re-examined that potential increase after considering public comments.

The Kennett Library Board has asked Kennett Township to help fund about $720,000 for the construction of the new library. In preliminary budget discussions, the supervisors and township staff had discussed spreading the cost over a period of six years and funding the township’s portion through a dedicated tax increase.

“With everything going on, I’m glad to have no tax increase,” Supervisor Whitney Hoffman said, “but we still have to figure out how to fund it” in future years.

Kennett Township residents, supervisors, and staff are still reeling from the Dec. 10 announcement by the Chester County District Attorney’s office that former Kennett Township Manager Lisa Moore allegedly embezzled more than $3.2 million from the township.

Ratliff, Finance Director Amy Heinrich, and township staff spent about 700 hours working on the 2020 budget. They created a budget “from the ground-up” – as Ratliff had described earlier in December – that reflects more accurately the township’s financial situation, something that was an issue with previous budgets when Moore was in charge of compiling them.

Tax resolution

Also at the meeting, the supervisors unanimously approved the 2020 tax resolution.

It keeps the general fund real estate and interim tax rates at 2.1 mills, and the 1995 library tax at 0.2 mills. A mil is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

Sewer rate increase

The supervisors unanimously approved a sewer rate increase in the metered sewer district in the township. The rate increase will cover an expected operating deficit in 2020, according to Heinrich.

The increase will affect customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per quarter. Currently, the 634 customers, a mix of residential and commercial, are charged $75 per quarter for the first 5,000 gallons and $11 per 1,000 gallons for anything more than 5,000 gallons. Starting in 2020, those who use more than 5,000 gallons will be charged $15 per 1,000 gallons for the overage, according to Heinrich.

Other business

  • The supervisors unanimously approved the payment of $325,925.54 in bills at Monday’s meeting and transfers of $670,522. The $325,925.54 in bills includes $209,829.29 in checks that were previously approved but needed to be reissued because of an issue with the new check stock, according to Heinrich.

New bills being paid include credit card charges in December totaling $6,753.90 ($1,874.01 from the general fund and $4,879.89 for emergency services).

The bill voucher summary includes transfers totaling $670,522. About $534,000 is transfers from the old EMS account to the general fund to reimburse for salaries, among other things.

“The transfer is necessary to ensure the expenses are recorded in the EMS fund,” according to a note on the bill voucher summary.

About $126,000 will be transferred from the general to the capital fund, and $10,000 from the general to the escrow fund for first-quarter expenses, according to the voucher.

Heinrich said the transfers are about “putting the money in the right place.”

A list of the bills approved for payment Monday is available online at the Kennett Township website (Kennett.pa.us).

  • The supervisors’ reorganization meeting will be Monday, Jan. 6. That will take the place of the meeting that would normally be held on the first Wednesday of January.
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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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