Township Releases 2019 Proposed Budget & 6-year Capital Improvement Program
The 2019 Lower Merion Township Proposed Budget and the Proposed 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Program have been posted here on the Township’s web site. The document, presented by Township Manager Ernie McNeely and Chief Financial Officer Eric Traub, again recommends no increase in the Township’s Real Estate Tax (RET) millage rate (4.19), the eighth year in a row of maintaining the RET rate unchanged while maintaining all services.
The 2019 Budget does not anticipate a rate increase to the Sanitary Sewer Rental Fee, but this rate will be further reviewed before it is adopted by ordinance and billed in May 2019. The 2019 Solid Waste fees are proposed to increase 10% compared to 2018. (Proposed fees for 2019 are: $237 for one mini-can per week; $338 for one container per week; $405 for two containers per week; and $67 for each additional can. The Rear Yard Collection Fee for trash and recycling placed more than five feet from the curb line will increase to $231.)
The first Public Hearing on the 2019 Proposed Budget took place on Monday, November 19th. The second Public Hearing will be held on Wednesday, December 5th at 6 p.m. in the Board Room of the Township Administration Building. The 2019 Proposed Budget and six-year Capital Improvement Program for 2019—2024 are scheduled for adoption on Wednesday, December 19th, at 7:30 p.m.
Further details about the 2019 Budget will be discussed at length during these meetings, and can be found in the Proposed Budget document online, including Manager McNeely's Budget Message to the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners and the Reader’s Guide.
Other highlights of the document include estimated actual performances for the current fiscal year, which ends December 31st:
- Revenue for 2018 is estimated at $65.5 million, an increase of 5.2% compared to the 2017 Budget.
- Expenditures for 2018 are estimated at $66.46 million, an increase of 1.5% compared to the 2018 Budget.
- The 2018 Estimated Actual expenditures exceed revenues (deficit) by $966,541, compared to a budgeted deficit of $3.22 million.
- Revenue for 2019 is budgeted at $64.25 million, an increase of 3.2% compared to 2018, while 2019 Expenditures are budgeted at $68.19 million, an increase of 4.2% compared to 2018.
- With 2019 expenditures expected to exceed revenue by $3.93 million, there will be a required planned budgeted drawdown of fund balance, to balance operating revenue with expenditures.
- The 2019 Budget ending fund balance (undesignated) is estimated at $16.08 million, or 23.6% of the 2019 Budget Expenditures.
- The budgeted deficits are designed to use some of the Township’s unreserved fund balances, which remain above policy, to avoid the need for tax rate increases.