I first want wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank everyone, Democrat, Republican and Independent alike for their support. I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve all of you and look forward to earning your trust. The election is over and now it is time to get to work! I will not be sworn into office until January 4, 2016. Because of this I am unable to vote on the proposed 2016 West Goshen Twp. budget but I, like all West Goshen residents, have the right to voice our concerns and suggestions into this decision making process. As such, I urge you to carefully read the proposed budget as soon as possible. The Board of Supervisors plans to vote on this budget December 9, 2015 at a meeting that will start 6 p.m., one hour earlier than usual to accommodate any public comment. You can find a general breakdown of the proposed expenditures posted on line at the West Goshen Twp. website. However, this posting does not give you the overall picture as to the continuing economic trend the Township has been taking over the past seven years.
In a nut shell, the Township’s overall revenue base is not keeping pace with yearly cost increases. Without the, resale of the Jefferson Apartment complex (2013), significant EIT one-time stock option earnings (2013), resale of Goshen Commons (2014), resale of Halstead Apartments (2015), and the one-time contribution from Traditions (2016), the Township’s total General Fund revenue has had little growth and is not even keeping pace with the rate of inflation.
This budget contains a proposed $1,792,939 deficit to the general fund which is the calculated final dollar amount after figuring in a $207, 061 surplus and a proposed $2,000,000 transfer from the general fund to the Capital Reserve for future capital projects. I believe that these future projects should be enumerated and explained in greater detail to the public so we can better understand and decide the necessity of this significant transfer.
This budget also proposes a 7.43% Salary and Wage increase over the 2015 budget. In fairness, there are several factors that go into this increase after a recent salary comparison study was initiated by the Township. However, I believe that when we decrease our General Fund significantly we must look with extreme scrutiny on any proposed wage increases.
I have spoken with several Township Supervisors about this budget. They were kind enough to answer my questions and listen to my concerns and suggestions. I want to thank them for their hard work and effort putting together this proposal and commend them for not raising our Real Estate taxes and Sewer & Trash fees. Although I may not agree with several provisions in this proposed budget I realize it is always easier to pick something apart than to create it. With that said, I give great deference to the current Supervisors efforts and since I have already expressed my opinions to them as a future colleague, I will not rehash them at the December 9th meeting. However, I strongly believe going forward we must focus our energy and work together to reverse this dangerous trend of continual yearly cost increases that outpace our overall revenue base. We owe it to our children and future West Goshen residents to make this a priority. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!