Monday, November 24, 2008

Proposed 13.8% increase in taxes knocks the stuffing out of Phoenixville property owners

It's that time of year, folks!

Once again we gather to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims of the Mayflower in 1620 on or near the rock which was to become Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Sharing in thanksgiving of the founding of our country, our homes will soon be filled with the cloying aroma of a big bird roasting in the oven, adding to the already tantalizing boquet issuing from the pumpkin pies cooling on the window sill.

The sounds of a magic-filled parade will promise anxious kids a good, long look at that big, very generous, jolly guy in red, while the noise of a football game coming from a tv in another room competes for our attention. The dining room table will be laden with favorites, the good china and crystal reflecting the gentle motions of flickering candles, and once grace is said over the feast, I guarantee someone will say there are a few turkeys at borough hall who make us want to bang our head on that hard Plymouth Rock.

In his blog, Councilmember Ken Buckwalter has detailed the 13.8% tax increase approved by Phoenixville Borough Council's Finance Committee, found here:

In this snip, notice also the rate increases for water and sewer:

"If approved at the December 9th meeting, this would represent the fourth year in a row of Borough taxes going up for a total of 47.87% in four years.

Also approved unanimously in Committee was a 21.5% water rate increase, a 4.5% increase in the sewer rate, and no increase in the trash rate."

Fellow Phoenixville citizens, by now I'm fairly certain most everyone is aware of the economic crisis in our country. I've been writing on this blog about the need for fiscal responsibility in our community from borough council since at least early summer.

Many Phoenixville residents have already lost their jobs completely, others have been laid off, or hours have been cut, and many more face an uncertain future in their companies. Banks and other financial institutions are failing, credit and auto companies are on the verge of closing, the entire finanical system is in chaos, and while Rome burns we learn Council is fiddling by raising our taxes, AGAIN.

As Ken reported in his article, our borough taxes have risen 47.87% in FOUR YEARS.

Has your salary, your pension check, your social security risen more than a fraction of that amount?

Did you ever find gold with the giblets inside your turkey?

As I mentioned above, some of the prior suggestions I and others have made regards cutting expenses during these critical economic times have fallen, apparently, on deaf ears.

Council should be concentrating on every method available to them to bring down the costs of administering this borough. Councilman Jeff Senley gives us details on the Finance meeting along with other observations here:

Lest I forget, I want to take this opportunity to thank Councilmembers Buckwalter, Kirkner, and Senley for their valiant attempts to cut the 2009 budget.

To temporarily hold the line, a hiring freeze should be instituted immediately with no end date until the financial situation is rectified and stable.

I am not certain if Council reviewed any outstanding taxes or receipts due to the borough, but now would be a great time to singe the feathers of those who haven't paid their taxes, water, or sewer bills on time.

Additional suggestions for budgetary cuts appear elsewhere on this blog.

Most importantly, Council simply must put an end to the philantrophy with our tax monies which are desperately needed elsewhere.

To my recollection, the requests started small with the FAME festival in need of revenue to advertize, then extended to a much overused phrase, "public and private partnership", to the incredible request of a six-figure amount on a 5 year contract with the CDC of $125,000 annually for a total of $625,000 of our TAX DOLLARS.


We have Phoenixville residents who are literally one paycheck away from their own personal financial disaster.

The rising costs of maintaining our individual family needs coupled with a historical national financial crisis begs a review of the proposed 2009 budget.

Here are the email addresses of the Council members and Mayor.

Please take the time to voice your opinon to them on the proposed budget.




Jeff Senley said...

Please note that "voicing your opinion" is not posting a comment in this blog entry.

You must contact your Councilmen to make a difference.

Karen said...

Agreed, Jeff, and exactly the reason why I provided Council addresses and suggested the readers email the council directly.

In all my years of involvement with local politics, I have never seen a council so unconcerned and disengaged with the public they have sworn to represent as this one.

Phoenixville Borough Council MUST consider the needs of it's citizens first.

Special interest groups should not be feeding at the public trough.

Karen said...

To Anonymous 5:31 p.m., on the off-topic subject, I can confirm the information you received.

I have been asked to withhold public comment for the present, and am doing so out of respect for the person who made that request.

You may give me a call to speak privately at any time.

Karen said...

I've been asked several questions for which I don't have an answer.

Do other municipalities engage in philantrophy and donate tax dollars to non-profits or private entities?

If so, which?

Because Phoenixville's borough council basically donates our tax dollars to private concerns, will the borough provide forms proving our (unwilling) charity donations for the IRS?

Jeff Senley said...

Thankfully, there is some good news to report.