Can Jenkintown afford its own sidewalks?
Borough Council has repeatedly made the claim that property taxes, already too high by many measures, would only have to go higher if we expected them to pay for the work. I have my doubts, so naturally the first place we need to look is in the budget.
For some reason, Jenkintown Borough only posts a summary of its budget on its website. I asked Council about this at the last meeting, but neither it nor manager George Locke had a clear answer for why they do this. A PDF of the full budget is only 387 kilobytes large, hardly big enough to break anyone’s server. They actually create more work for themselves by posting just one page extracted from a 38 page document.
Good to his word, Mr. Locke sent me the PDF via email, and as a public service, I am posting it here for you. The document appears to come directly from an Excel spreadsheet, and provides no details on what, for instance, the projected $25,000 software disbursement — a 500% increase over the previous year — gets us.
After a quick analysis, a few things jump out. The Borough seems to end every year in surplus, with the money applied to the next fiscal year. It maintains a sizable contingency fund, though it doesn’t specify what constitutes a contingency. Also, debt service will rise this year because the Borough plans to borrow more money.
I welcome comments and other analysis from readers as I try to determine the veracity of Council’s assertion that they’d have to raise taxes to properly do their work themselves.