LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – No ifs, no ands, no buts. The township budget is tenative, tentative, tentative.
Lower Pottsgrove’s proposed 2009 spending plan, released for public inspection Monday (Nov. 24, 2008), is not considered final until approved by the township Board of Commissioners. Its vote on the budget’s adoption is scheduled for Dec. 18. Until then, it’s “tentative,” and as if to reinforce that notion the word is printed in three separate places on the budget cover.
The budget serves as a category-by-category overview of township government’s anticipated revenue and expenses for the coming year. During the 12-month period beginning Jan. 1, Lower Pottsgrove is presenting a balanced budget totaling $5.39 million. However, it expects to bring in only $5.07 million in revenue; the $320,000 difference will be covered by unreserved money the township saved in previous years.
As promised by commissioners, township tax rates will remain unchanged from last year.
The document also provides a historic look back at the same categories, supplying both budgeted and actual numbers from 2004 through the current year. The result gives readers a context to determine where the township’s been – philosophically and financially – compared to where it intends to go.
The budget package presented to the public consists of eight double-sided pages of 14 columns each. A far left column details income and cost items; center columns presenting past, present and future figures; and a far right column contains cryptic but mostly understandable notes on what changes may affect a particular item.
Administrative staff members credit Township Bookkeeper Michele Christman with the document’s organization and appearance.
Actually, the package aggregates seven budgets: that of the general fund, which accounts for most income and expenses; the light fund, for street light taxes and costs; the sewer fund; the sewer capital fund, for improvements to the system; the bond capital projects fund, for improvements funded by public borrowing; the parks and recreation fund; and the state fund, which primarily addresses highway maintenance and repairs.
And because the budget is, after all, a financial roadmap, the dollar sign ($) appears in it more than 4,000 times.