The 2021 Operational Budget communicates West Chester’s ongoing commitment to:
c) Fiscal responsibility,
d) Quality of life, and
e) Continues to prioritize West Chester’s position as a leading-edge community and one of “America’s Best Places to Live.”
West Chester Township will continue to focus on our core competencies which are Police, Fire, Roads, Parks and Brookside Cemetery, but we will also work to fulfill our Strategic Planning objectives and the 2019 National Citizen Survey results.
The over-arching goal of the aforementioned focuses is protecting property values and sustaining commercial development as West Chester continues to mature and less raw land is available for development.
So where does West Chester get the money to accomplish all these goals? The ‘Township Revenue Sources’ pie chart shows that 82.9% of all revenue comes from property taxes! The remaining 17.1% comes from Hotel, Gasoline, Motor Vehicle License taxes, as well as some Interest on Cash and the JEDD District where Income Tax is collected on earning of GE employees.
One other point, before moving to expenses, the money collected in TIF Districts (Tax Increment Finance) like the CBD, 747 and Union Centre Blvd TIF’s, are not represented as part of the operational budget, but play a critical role in large Township projects. TIF revenue is generated from commercial development in specific districts and accounts for $8,395,000 of the Township’s Capital Improvement Projects in 2021. The 747 TIF is being used to build the new Fire Station 73.
Moving to expenses, West Chester’s BUDGET vs ACTUAL Expenses have traditionally been significantly different. The benefit of overestimating the budget is that it allows the Township to have budget flexibility and organizational responsiveness! In 2020 the budgeted expenses were $50.7M, but the actual expenses were just over $36M, a 29% difference. I expect this to be the case in 2021 as well.
The proposed expenditures for 2021 total $48.1 million, a decrease of 5% from 2020 budgeted expenses. In 2021, more than $33 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 2021. 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 – 2021 Budget
Significant expenditures proposed in 2021 for the POLICE Fund include:
• $450,000 for vehicle replacements.
• $109,000 for various equipment replacement and maintenance, and
• $25,000 for canine replacement.
Fire & EMS Fund – 2021 Budget
Significant expenditures proposed in 2021 for the FIRE Department include:
• $318,000 to replace an EMS ambulance,
• $100,000 for replacement of a SIM mannequin (it bleeds, breathes, has a pulse, blood pressure and will “die” if administered the wrong meds – not your ordinary mannequin!),
• $70,000 to replace a fleet vehicle, and
• $60,000 to replace turnout .
Road improvements and infrastructure maintenance are critical investments and, therefore, the budget proposes more than $8.85 million in infrastructure improvements in 2021 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 – 2021 Budget
Significant expenditures proposed in 2021 for the ROADS Fund include:
• $700,000 to repair/ replace failing storm pipes,
• $700,000 to replace aging and damaged curbs,
• $700,000 to resurface township roads, and
• $380,000 to replace a fleet vehicle and two salt trucks.
General Fund – 2021 Budget
Significant expenditures proposed in 2021 for the GENERAL Fund include:
• $1.5 million transfer to Roads for infrastructure improvements,
• $250,000 for potential U.S. Route 42 corridor redevelopment improvement project,
• $250,000 for document archiving,
• $75,000 for feasibility study to expand the MidPoint Library, and
• $30,000 for vehicle replacement.
As in years prior, 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”!