Quakertown Borough Council Wednesday night voted to adopt a $28.5 million budget containing no tax or utility rate increases.
In fact, noted Council Vice Chairman Donald Rosenberger, the average resident will be billed about $24 less annually in 2014 for water, sewer, and electricity due to a 12 percent reduction in the debt service charge which is outlined monthly on Quakertown utility bills.
Rosenberger noted next year the borough will spend $3 million more than the $26 million in revenues it will receive; however, the discrepancy will be overcome by drawing from $10 million in borough cash reserves.
He added that a $50,000 surplus from this year is part of the $10 million aforementioned reserve.
The 2014 budget includes increased spending on capital improvements such as new borough police and public works vehicles, new electric and water meters for homes and businesses, and a pricey water line replacement on Main Street, only to name a few new 2014 expenditures, explained Rosenberger.
In addition, he said the borough plans to move forward with downtown and borough-wide economic development and revitalization.
In other business, Council approved a new $2.50 service fee on borough utility bill payments each made with electronic checks (E-checks) or credit cards.
Rosenberger said residents can avoid the fee by signing up for automatic payments, writing out a check, or paying in cash.
Borough Manager Scott McElree said the fee emanates from the credit card companies, not the borough.
Following his financial report, Rosenberger announced the borough was notified Wednesday it will receive an additional $250,000 state grant for the new park at Fourth and Mill streets, the site of the former Krupp foundry.
He said Sen. Bob Mensch's (R-24) office was highly instrumental in obtaining the funding from Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). .
In addition, Rosenberger said Quakertown was also awarded a $225,000 state grant two weeks ago for the park from the Department of Commercial and Economic Development (DCED).
A groundbreaking was held October11th for the new park and an additional $500,000 is needed to complete the project, commented Rosenberger.
He said the extra money will come from continued private fund raising efforts-- which to date have raised $125,000.
He remarked about the new park, "When it's done, it's going to be a great addition to Quakertown."