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Budget Resolutions In The Spotlight

SANATOGA PA – Resolutions addressing the approval of the Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township 2009 budget, and its accompanying taxes and rates (for real estate, fire services, street light assessments, and others), top the agenda for the township Board of Commissioners‘ meeting tonight (Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008) at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd.

The meeting is open to the public. The agenda has been available for download since Wednesday (Dec. 17, 2008).

Additionally, during what commissioners consider their “Close-Out Meeting,” they are scheduled to consider approval of two contracts that have a significant effect on township spending during 2009: a four-year labor agreement with uniformed officers of its Police Department, and a separate labor agreement for Police Chief Michael Shade.

Comparing Lower Pottsgrove Police Department expenses since 2004. Figures for 2008 are projected. Figures of 2009 are tentatively budgeted. See the bulleted notes below.

Comparing Lower Pottsgrove Police Department overall expenses since 2004. Figures for 2008 are projected. Figures of 2009 are tentatively budgeted. See the bulleted notes below.

  • Police department budgeted expenses for 2009, as compared to previous years (see the chart above), seem to be in line even with the increased personnel costs of a new labor contract. Public comments added to articles last month in The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper suggested department expenses overall were uncustomary. With the exception of 2007, the 8.8% projected rise in police operating costs for 2009 over 2008 falls within or below the range of increases to the same line item since 2004. In the chart, figures in yellow represent costs in millions; figures in purple represent percentage changes in cost from the previous year.

Commissioners also are expected to publicly refer to letters the township received during the past month from the Pottstown Public Library and the Pottstown Area Seniors Center.

Although the letters’ contents are not defined in the agenda, it’s likely both discuss township budget cuts to those agencies. The cuts themselves have been an item of controversy in local news media since November. Commissioners were asked to restore funding to those and two other non-profit groups previously eliminated from the 2009 budget, and the night’s drama may lie in learning how – if at all – they act on the requests.

Commissioners also may hear about correspondence from Traffic Planning And Design of Sanatoga regarding potential repairs to the East High Street bridge, and from the Montgomery County Planning Commission regarding the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422.

A notice of the board’s intent to conduct an executive session regarding a personnel matter, following its regular meeting, appears at the bottom of agenda items.

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