West Chester Township has another busy year planned in 2020! As in years past, West Chester will focus on our ‘core competencies which are Police, Fire, Roads, Parks and Brookside Cemetery.
The 2020 Operational Budget manifests West Chester’s ongoing commitment to:
a) Fiscal responsibility,
b) Addresses priorities expressed by our residents in the 2019 National Citizen Survey, and
c) Continues to prioritize West Chester’s position as a leading-edge community and one of “America’s Best Places to Live.”
As I mentioned last year, it’s critical every effort be made to protect property values and sustain development as West Chester matures. Goals which are key to our community’s future success are:
• Remaining focused on keeping West Chester’s economy strong by investing in infrastructure and community amenities,
• Promoting development and retaining a marketable workforce, and
• Preserving property values by encouraging property maintenance and livability.
Before getting into the numbers, it’s important to note that the Township has a very conservative budgeting process approach and overestimates expenses. This allows for budget flexibility and organizational responsiveness. BUDGET vs ACTUAL expenses have traditionally been significantly different! In 2019 the budgeted expenses were $49.3M, but the actual expenses were $40.7M, a 17.1% difference. I expect this to be the case in 2020 as well. This can be seen in the Annual Report Chart that graphs Revenue and Expenses year over year in West Chester.
The proposed expenditures for 2020 total $50.7 million, an increase from 2019 budgeted expenses of 3.2%. In 2020, more than $35 million is budgeted for police and fire services which accounts for 69% of the overall Township budget for all operational funds!
Below are pie charts of each of the four primary funds – Police, Fire & EMS, Roads and General – that show where the Township plans to spend money in 2020. Associated with each pie chart is a short list of the ‘big’ proposed expenses coming out of each fund.
Taxpayers’ money invested in police and fire services helps to prevent and reduce crime, prevent and fight fires, and extend lifesaving medical care. These exceptional services, in turn, help to protect property values, reduce the burden on taxpayers through reduced insurance rates, and make West Chester an attractive place to invest as a business and as a resident.
Police Fund – 2020 Budget
Significant expenditures proposed in 2020 for the POLICE Fund include:
• $1.5 million technology upgrade to public safety software system (the total cost of $3M will be shared by Police and Fire and EMS);
• $450,000 for vehicle replacements; and
• $27,600 for replacement of carpet in police department common areas
• $1.5 million technology upgrade to public safety software system (total cost of $3M will be share by Police and Fire and EMS);
• $122,000 for replacement of cardiac monitors;
• $105,000 to replace two vehicles; and
• $26,000 to replace ventilation fans carried on each fire apparatus.
Road improvements and infrastructure maintenance are critical investments and, therefore, the budget proposes more than $8.85 million in infrastructure improvements in 2020 Roads funds and TIF Funds. Infrastructure investment is critical to residents who rely on the local roadway system and for corporate stakeholders who demand ease of access and location to increase profitability. Included in this project list is $3M budgeted for landscape and hardscape design at the new Union Centre DDI (T IF) and $950,000 for beautification and design of the Tylersville Road overpass. While these projects might not directly affect the conditions for travelers, these features identify us as a community of distinction and set West Chester apart.
Road Fund – 2020 Budget
Significant expenditures proposed in 2020 for the ROADS Fund include:
• $3.45 million for the 2020 Infrastructure Program (not including work by BCEO) which includes:
o $500,000 to repair/ replace an estimated 35 sections of culvert pipe,
o $600,000 to replace approximately 18,000 lineal feet of curb,
o $1 million in Roads funds and $1.2 million in TIF to repave an estimated eight miles of road, and
o $150,000 to slurry seal approximately 2.3 miles of road.
• $370,000 to replace four vehicles including one new pickup truck, two new 2.5-ton salt trucks and a street sweeper. Purchase of the street sweeper and salt trucks will be financed over the next 3-4 years, and
$950,000 for Tylersville Bridge VOA Decorative safety fencing pictured below.
• $1.5 million transfer to Roads for infrastructure improvements;
• $250,000 for potential U.S. Route 42 corridor redevelopment improvement project;
• $170,000 estimated payment to Fairfield per JEDD agreement marking the 10th year of the agreement; and
• $126,500 for assorted improvements to Keehner park.
Moving forward, West Chester’s call to action must continue to:
• Create opportunities,
• Capitalize and leverage our existing assets, and
• Expend resources in a manner that strives to enhance West Chester’s competitiveness, marketability and sustainability.
Doing these things, West Chester Township will differentiate itself from other communities in a positive way and continue to be one of “America’s Best Places to Live”!