Hellertown surplus signals strengthening economy
Monday night Hellertown Borough Manager Cathy Hartranft announced an anticipated annual revenue surplus for first time since the beginning of economic recession, attributing the rise to a strengthening economy.
“We feel that revenue this year is exceeding expectations,” said Hartranft. “The economy is picking up.”
At this Monday’s Borough of Hellertown Council meeting she listed numerous factors for the Borough’s economic surge, including increases in earned income, transfer fees, and applications for permits among others.
“We’ve been much more assertive with collections,” added Hartranft, citing an increased effort to improve on last year’s revenue margins. Other council members concurred with her assessment and provided additional indicators of bolstered local and national economies.
“For years we saw a steady decrease in earned income,” noted Councilman Thomas Rieger. This year, however, is the first time since the global recession of 2009 that Hellertown has seen these numbers on the upswing.
“There’s definitely an increase in permits,” said Zoning and Codes Officer Kris Russo. “We’re already ahead of last year’s numbers and there’s still a good number of weeks left in the year.”
“It’s definitely a sign that the economy is picking up,” he said, echoing the words of Borough Manager Hartranft.
Russo also spoke of a booming Hellertown real estate market, enumerated by the rising number of property transactions and associated exchanges. There’s also been a spike in long term-expenditures, signaling higher disposable income and overall economic prosperity.
“There has been a lot of new construction, applications for land development, land construction. That wasn’t seen last year,” said Russo. “I feel like the families that were holding on to their money, they [now] feel comfortable spending it, so I think it’s a definite sign that everything’s starting to turn around.”
Russo also speculated that other districts will experience a similar effect as they close up their books for the year due to a strengthening national economy.
“I haven’t had that talk yet with another local code guys but I’m sure that everyone is seeing the same thing.”
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