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Ridley Park Borough Council Nov. 19 approved a 2014 preliminary budget with a possible four to five percent tax increase to meet estimated expenditures of $4.2 million. The current millage rate is 7.7 mills. The sewer fee is projected at $327 per dwelling unit and the trash fee, pending the awarding of a new trash contract, is $233 says the story filed by Barbara Ormsby for the DelCO News Network.
Council finance chairman Jim Glenn said the total assessment of the borough for 2014, according to figures from Delaware County Board of Assessment, is down by $600,000 from the current year. He also said the borough can expect less revenue next year from the real estate transfer tax because the number of houses sold in the community this past year is less than previous years. This is still a preliminary (budget), Glenn said.
Council member Sue Murtha argued with Glenn over presentation of the preliminary budget, with Murtha contending that she was being asked to approve a budget that she had not had a chance to review before the council meeting. She said the presentation of the preliminary budget was not legal. Glenn said the preliminary budget will be available for review at the borough hall for the next 10 days and the figures in the document will be subjected to review. The figures could change before final adoption on Dec. 19.
Solicitor Ernie Angelos's opinion was the preliminary budget presentation at the meeting was legal. Murtha also questioned the awarding of an emergency contract for a new heater at the library because she said the contract went to a relative of a council member. Glenn said a relative of his does own the company, H & H Heating, but he has no connection with the company. He said H & H was the lowest responsible bidder for the heater at $8,000. On the advice of Angelos, Glenn abstained from voting when action on the heater contract came up toward the end of the council meeting. The vote was three to two, with Murtha and councilman Jared Brennan voting no and Glenn abstaining. Council member Samantha Snow was absent from the meeting. Although the vote was three to two with one abstention in favor of H & H Heating, council president Bob Berger called on Mayor Hank Eberle to cast a tie breaking vote. Eberle voted in favor of H & H.