Delaware County Council Chairman John McBlain has stated that due to a “prudent savings over time”, that he believes Executive Director Marianne Grace should consider a 2.5 percent tax decrease for homeowners in 2018.
To give a bit of perspective, this would be considered around $25 per $100,000 home.
McBlain states: “Here, again, I recognize it’s a modest decrease, and I realize that no one’s going on vacation to Disney World on that. But, that being said, that may be dinner for a family and for a senior citizen on a fixed income, it may be a portion of their food bill for a week.”
Executive Director Grace, as required by the Home Rule Charter, has already presented the budget in October of this year. The spending plan held the line with no tax increase for the 5th consecutive year and decreased spending by approximately $250,000; although services have remained the same.
The charter also outlines that the council must provide their comments or recommendations by November 19th.
At a closer glance, McBlain has noticed that the county should be able to return modest surpluses to the reserve fund due to the last few years. The county’s reserve fund now stands at about $54 million.
McBlain explains that “Since the turn of the century, that’s the largest amount that we’ve accumulated,” he then continued to say that after setting aside a portion for unforeseen expenses, such as emergencies, the county still was looking at about $4.3 million in reserve.
“We’ve been able to accumulate these very modest surpluses,” he said. “We’ve been able to grow our fund balance to a very healthy number. So, what I’ve asked in my budget recommendation is for them to take a look at utilizing that remainder $4.3 million of the unassigned fund balance and decreasing the real estate taxes because of that.”
The county must maintain at least 10% of its general fund for its reserve fund.
“One of the reasons we’ve been able to save money is because of the number of job vacancies that exist,” McBlain said, adding that about 200 to 300 of the county’s 3,000 positions are unfilled. “Many of them we do have to fill … We had retirement incentives in 2010 and in 2014, which many employees took advantage of. I think it would be responsible to pass a no tax increase budget,” McBlain said, “but I also think that when we are in a situation where we’ve accumulated a sufficient amount, a more than sufficient amount in our reserve fund, we should allow some of that money to go back to the taxpayers. Rather than us hold their money, they can figure out what to do with their own money.”
The proposition has to also be considered by the remainder of county council, who will review the $354 million budget at a public presentation on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. This meeting will be taking place at the county council meeting room at the Government Center in Media. The budget will be up for a vote the following Wednesday, Dec. 12.
To see the article in full, feel free to refer to the Delaware County Daily Times: https://www.delcotimes.com/news/local/delaware-county-council-considering-a-tax-cut/article_080e6d88-f02d-11e8-89db-67a2818a97cb.html