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Pennsburg to Spend More on Roads, Parks
Written by By Kelly Chandler Staff Writer
2014-10-22

Draft budget includes no tax increase for borough residents

         Pennsburg officials said they will spend thousands more on roads and the Pennsburg Community Park on E. 8th Street next year, along with higher costs projected for Upper Perk Police and insurance.  But those increases won't likely translate to a tax hike for borough residents.

          At a meeting Tuesday night, council went over a $1.3 million draft budget for 2015 which will noted a $10,000 increase in the roads budget, mainly for Long Alley and borough intersections, an $18,600 increase in the parks department spending, to outfit the community park with playground equipment for the tot lot and a backstop, and an insurance hike, namely for workman's compensation.

          Pennsburg's share of Upper Perk Police coverage, of which they pay 55 percent and East Greenville pays 45, is also slated to go up 5 percent in the budget, although police commission talks haven't been finalized, said Council President Kris Kirkwood. 

Pennsburg is currently slated to pay $639,709 next year.

          Officials did question whether the formula used to determine each borough's cost for police coverage, which also factors in call volume and population, still indicated Pennsburg should bear the majority of the cost.

          "It seems like Pennsburg has had less calls," noted Councilman Cody Belmont, who said it would be good to look at the figures. 

          Kirkwood, however, said the call volume bounces back and forth between the municipalities.  He cautioned against trying to renegotiate the formula under which the commission funds the department now as it "isn't a good time to upset the apple cart."  Officials noted East Greenville is experiencing a budget shortfall for 2015.

          Despite higher expenses in some areas, the borough was able to put out less for equipment purchases as a balloon payment for a new borough truck was completed and a new office copier was paid for in 2014. 

          Officials also put aside $15,000 toward the wayfinding signs requested by the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce through the regional planning commission.

          In other news, council agreed to move forward with the approximately $5,000 purchase of software from Mapping Decisions of Bethlehem.  The software would enable borough personnel to better manage their infrastructure and assets, according to founder Christian Birch.

          The roads department would be able take photos of traffic signs with tablets, which would use GPS to pinpoint each one's location, and catalogue them according to type and condition.  A database of traffic signs, maintained by each municipality, is required by a new federal law, Birch said.

          The software could also be used to map stormwater inlets required for the borough's state MS4 permit, sewer infrastructure and street trees.

          The data would be inputted into a cloud-based system and would be accessible by borough employees and officials.  The system is currently used by Bethlehem borough and Lower Saucon Township, among other area municipalities, according to Birch.


 

 

 

 

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