Richland mulls projected stagnant revenues - PineCreek Journal

Richland mulls projected stagnant revenues

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | 2:47 PM

Richland Township manager Dean Bastianini told the board of supervisors during the 2020 budget workshop Nov. 18 that the township is doing well financially, but that stagnant revenues could pose a challenge in the future.

“I think we’re robust, and I think we’re proactive,” he said. “The cloud on the horizon is the flatness of the revenues.”

The budget for 2020 is $6.88 million, which is a 1% increase — or $33,800 — over 2019.

“The budget reflects a concerted effort to control expenditures and contain spending in line with the flat projection of real estate and earned-income tax revenues,” Bastianini said.

The biggest expenses in the township’s budget, which will be put to a vote at the Dec. 18 meeting, are the $1.6 million contribution to the Northern Regional Police Department; $1.2 million in paving projects; $1.05 million in salaries of township employees and $1.02 million paid to Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority, Deer Creek Drainage Basin Authority and Hampton Sewage Treatment Plant to transport and treat sanitary waste. Highway and road expenditures represent 32% of the annual budget. Public safety, including fire, is 35% of the budget.

The contribution to the police department, which is based on the percent of calls to each municipality, is up 2.48%, or $44,000 from 2018. That’s the lowest increase of the four municipalities, Bastianini said.

Another $391,600 goes toward the cost of operating Richland Township Community Park; $228,100 goes to Northern Tier Regional Library; $243,120 goes to the volunteer fire department; and $739,400 goes to general government, including tax collection, solicitor and engineer.

The township has $1.12 million in the highway improvement capital reserve fund and $401,000 in the general capital reserve fund to do capital improvements, including traffic signal projects, storm sewer projects and park projects.

In terms of revenue, Richland collected $2.22 million in real estate tax 2017 and $2.23 million in 2018. This year, $2.24 million is expected, with $2.21 million being collected so far.

“Which is pretty much the same thing we collected in all of 2017,” Bastianini said. “This next month, we’re probably going to get less than $10,000 more, so we’re going to finish about where we ended up last year. So it shows no growth in the real estate taxes at all.”

It’s a similar case in earned-income tax. Through Nov. 14, they’ve collected $2.1 million and they have $2.3 million budgeted for 2020, about the same as was budgeted for 2019.

“Your major funding sources aren’t going up by 1%,” he said. “They’re flat. And they’ll continue to be flat next year as well.”