Monday, July 28, 2008

Budget crunch time - we can help with our ideas!

Phoenixville Borough Council, along with the newly hired Borough Manager, E. Jean Krack, will have a long and laborious task ahead of them in their work on the 2009 budget.

I don’t envy the job ahead.

I do have suggestions for their consideration as they move through the process. You may have contributions, also. Add them to the blog.

This year, Council’s motto should be, no, has to be....slash and burn.

In view of the revelations at Councilman Ken Buckwalter’s site, “Budget Time Bomb Discovered”, at we have more problems than originally thought.

Rising costs for gasoline, heating oil, (electricity is next), chemicals for the water and sewer departments either will or already are hitting the borough with major increases. Controlling some costs may not be as easy as piggybacking with the state anymore. This is the time for creative ideas, and a fair amount of gumption to implement those ideas which show merit.

Due to the rising costs on every aspect of life, Borough Council must deal with fiscal realities by doing everything they can to lower the cost of government services. No one can expect Phoenixville residents to have the ability to bear another double digit tax increase. Council must achieve real and sustainable relief by addressing our local government's efficiency after dealing with any found deficiencies during the budge process.

Therefore, a department by department review of costs must be made with department heads taking the lead along with the staff to examine budget items. Council should request a realistic percentage of reduction in each department.

A hiring freeze should be effective immediately.

A no-idling rule should be instituted for all borough vehicles including the police department. Increase the bike patrol program.

All municipal buildings should have zoned thermostats if they don’t already, and weatherized before winter.

Eliminate all unnecessary travel, and urge departments to consolidate borough related errands.

Work with the unions on temporarily freezing education benefits as well as urging consolidation of employee insurance benefits to a spouse’s group insurance.

Cancel previous funding commitments to capital improvement programs, at least temporarily, such as the CDC, and Friendship Field.

Aggressively pursue outstanding receipts due to the borough.

Re-negotiate agreement with PTV to cut costs, and if possible, revisit all outside vendor contracts, i.e., cell tower owners.

Facilitate for and examine any available models for shared services with neighboring communities.

Examine the savings realized by a 4 - 10 hour day work week in departments where possible.

Council should determine if the utility poles throughout town and in our parking lots are owned by the borough. Years ago they were sold, bought back, and perhaps sold again. I’m not certain if we do or do not own them today. Either way, the borough should examine and make a cost saving move to solar powered or LED lighting as effective way to reduce electrical costs. Light pollution should also be a consideration when a change is made.

Marple Township’s program:

Develop a long term plan to reclaim methane gas at the sewer plant into heating for the facility. Here is one company which converts sewage into clean water and renewable energy.

Think green everywhere.

Years ago, I presented Council with the idea of municipal supplied electricity for the borough. Revisiting that idea may be worth considering. In addition, wind turbines on top of utility poles are now being used to generate electricity in those areas with sufficient wind power. See this article:

Many more ideas were contained in a draft memo which I lost before saving when we had a power outage. :(

Please post your ideas on ways the borough can save your tax dollars.

Together, maybe we really can make a difference!


Karen said...

Karen you should run for coucil.
The man in your old spot does not have half the knowledge as displayed when he states "I am present ready to work" what work has he done for borough other then poor motions.*

*Received as a comment but edited

Jeff Senley said...

Any ideas for cost-cutting measures in the 2009 budget are welcomed as discussions begin in August.

I encourage everyone to make sure that these ideas reach beyond the world of bloggery onto the Council floor.

Karen said...

Thank you, Jeff, for your input.

I invite, no, I implore you to copy any ideas you deem viable in this blog and use it/them for inclusion with your work on Council.