KENNETT SQUARE >> Kennett Square council Monday night unanimously adopted a budget that calls for no increase in taxes, no increase in water and sewer fees, and a decrease in solid waste fees. The budget also allocates $1.5 million for construction of a public parking garage expansion project.
The $11.8 million budget maintains a 6.35-mill tax rate. It sets aside $30,000 in funding for installation of a center island and pavement markings between Sickle and Fairthorne streets, $200,000 in funding to install a water main to support economic development along the Birch Street corridor as well as prepare for a possible streetscape grant, and $130,000 for repairs to the existing public parking garage on State and Union streets. A mill generates $1 of revenue for every $1,000 of a property’s tax value.
While no firm estimates have been garnered on the cost of the planned public parking garage expansion, borough officials expect it to come in at about $3 million. The borough has secured $500,000 in grant funding from the county for the project, and the borough could put the $386,000 it received for selling the Weinstein lot to the Kennett Library toward the parking garage expansion.
The parking garage expansion would add four floors of parking, generating an additional 200-plus parking spaces.
There will be a 25 cents per hour increase at all of the borough’s parking meters beginning in January, bringing the cost to park at $1 per hour.
The budget calls for a 3 percent increase for all uniformed and non-uniformed borough employees. And in 2018, capital improvements will be funded in part by the borough’s parking and sewer funds. Additionally, the council agreed to significantly bump up funding to the Kennett Library.
The budget also calls for $50,000 in funding for installation of new high-tech water meters, and $14,000 for installation of two new flashing pedestrian crossings. And $1.3 million is targeted for the design, bid and initial construction of a new Wastewater Treatment facility to meet a deadline on nitrogen limits. And $200,000 is being set aside for the replacement of two blowers and maintenance. The Cypress Street Pump Station was upgraded this year with new pumps and equipment to eliminate routing clogging and maintenance issues.
New 2018 purchases include a new vehicle for the codes enforcement officer, a new pickup truck, a new front-end loader to replace a 1996 backhoe, a trailer-mounted generator for backup of water and sewer at remote facilities and purchase of a commercial lawn mower.
This year, council paid down more than $840,000 in debt, and efforts to pay down debt will continue in 2018.