Delaware Gets Fiscal House In Order
Delaware Gets Fiscal House In Order, Cuts Taxes
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, December 20, 2012
By: Lisa Mickles
DINGMANS FERRY - Delaware Township supervisors approve their $1.5 million budget and even approved a .75 mill tax decrease while also changing the tax collector's compensation.
At last Wednesday's meeting, the supervisors unanimously approved the budget with the option to reopen it in January.
"This budget is the most concise and accurate budget done by office staff," said Chairman Tom Ryan while noting that the budget was not completed by any supervisors or volunteers as it was done in the past.
A half mill was reduced from recreation, which will now be set at 1.5mills with the general fund reduced by a quarter of a mill. Ryan said they are being conservative this year since there are still unknowns regarding expenses. He also noted that the general fund was actually reduced by an additional 1 mill since last year's reduction was funded through a settlement through Blue Ridge Cable (BRC).
By paying off the mortgage for Akenac Park, the township is also now debt-free without having to dip into reserve funds. The supervisors agreed to pay off the 15-year mortgage loan early, which saves the township an estimated $11,000 in annual interest fees.
Supervisor Thaddeus Parsell who is officially retired as the Roadmaster, said that the first mortgage was for 20 years, and he never thought the $1 million purchase would be paid off in five years.
The board also approved a resolution for tax collector compensation that will take effect in the years 2014 through 2017. Currently, Tax Collector Mary Lou Corbett receives a 5 % surcharge for taxes collected for the Township.
The resolution now states that the first 1,000 taxable parcels shall be at a flat rate of $4,447.53 in the first year and go up slightly for the following three years. Compensation for over 1,000 parcels shall be at the rate of $1.70 each.
Corbett said after the meeting that the new resolution effectively reduces her collection rate by more than half. She said her current compensation equates to $40,000, which only included municipal taxes. Delaware Valley School District and the county already pay a flat rate comparable to the resolution approved by the supervisors.
BLUE RIDGE CABLE
The supervisors took public comment regarding how people wanted the township to proceed in negotiating a franchise agreement with BRC.
Currently, BRC collects a 3% fee from the user that is reimbursed to the township, which equates to around $75,000 per year.
For several years, the Township did not have a formal agreement with BRC. The township has been in negotiations with the cable company and sought input from BRC on areas that are not covered.
In a phone interview, Ryan said that as of Monday, negotiations with BRC have broken down.
YEAR END REVIEW
Ryan provided an overview of the progress over the last year. He commended the staff on their due diligence in cutting and keeping expenses down. He said when he and Office Manager Barbara Foos began looking over the finances early this year, they discovered non of the funds had FDIC coverage in addition to not receiving any interest on over $2 million in the reserves and general fund. He said all of the funds were commingled and the accounts disorganized. Recreation and payroll had separate accounts in the same condition and the checking accounts had not been reconciled since October 2011, which took many months to correct. Ryan said Sharon Franks was an asset in helping to organize the office.
He said in August they hired Krista Predmore as Assistant Office Manager and later appointed her as Financial Manager and grant writer. She also serves as the Township's legislative liaison. Predmore has also successfully completed training and testing to become the notary for the Township. "Over the past year much has been accomplished by the entire team here in Delaware Township," said Ryan. For complete story, get this week's issue.