POTTSTOWN, Pa. – Pottstown Borough Council got a look at the first draft of the 2022 budget Tuesday night.
"This budget is a start," said Borough Manager Justin Keller. "There is still a lot of work to do. A number of costs have not yet come in. We'll come back in November, and we should be closer to the final numbers."
Keller explained that three primary drivers will affect the budget: a reduction in the assessed value of real estate, an increase in health insurance premiums and contractual wage increases for borough employees.
The draft budget projects a $1.4 million decrease in assessments in 2022, bringing them to $760 million. Salaries for police and administration are contracted to increase 4%, while AFSCME members salaries will increase by 3%. The minimum municipal obligation for police and non-uniformed personnel, Keller noted, will be $2,012,323 in the upcoming year.
General fund revenues are projected at $13,743,847, and expenses are estimated at $14,390,484. Keller said this will call for a tax increase of 7.18%, but he and his team will work hard to reduce that figure before the November meeting.
Keller also pointed out that the 2022 capital plan calls for $60,000 for two police vehicles, $51,000 for stormwater improvements, and $56,000 for roof repairs at city hall.
Council President Dan Weand, head of the finance and administration committee, reported that the borough had received 83% of budgeted revenue but incurred just 39% of expense at the end of August. Also, 99% of the real estate taxes and 31% of local taxes were received. Assessments declined $272,460.
Council granted the conditional use request of James C. Martin to allow the use of a tax office at the property located at 543-545 E. High St., with conditions as stated in the order dated Oct. 12, 2021.
Council also adopted a resolution approving the request of Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine, 235 E. High St., for an economic development liquor license.
An agreement for traffic law enforcement on private roads within Hanover Square was approved and authorized by council.
Also, the sale of a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria to Ralph DeAngelo in the amount of $2,300 was approved.
Kevin Owens, police department administrator, was appointed as the deputy emergency management coordinator for the borough.
Council authorized the execution of a three-year planning assistance contract with the Montgomery County Planning Commission for consulting services for Pottstown, in the total amount of $89,964.
Also, the execution of an ornamental lighting maintenance agreement among the borough, Hobart's Run neighborhood district and The Hill School for streetlights along the north side of Beech Street was approved.
Council approved a motion to grant the request of the Victory Christian Life Center to hold a "Light the Night" event on Oct. 30, resulting in the closure of Washington Street, between King Street and Buttonwood Alley, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In addition, council granted the request of Janet Freedline to hold a Halloween trick-or-treat event on Oct. 31, resulting in the closure of Franklin Street between Wilson and Diamond streets, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Finally, council OK'd a Certificate of Appropriateness for the property located at 866 E. High St., as recommended by Historical Area Review Board.