As Mayor, I am proud of Upper Darby Township. We are a community of neighborhoods, each different, each diverse, but all committed to making Upper Darby Township a good place to raise our families. As I worked with my staff on the 2017 budget, we reflected on the number of good things that ARE happening in our community. We also struggled with costs associated with the operation of a local government in a township of nearly 83,000 individuals. We face difficult challenges however, through hard work and community spirit we can overcome these challenges. Development and redevelopment of business properties and opportunities continue to present themselves and help us move forward in the township. Just last Friday, September 30 the seventh (7th) all-purpose supermarket opened in Upper Darby Township, another McDonalds fast food operation opened at Baltimore Pike & Union Avenue. McDonalds is a compliment store to the shopping center that features the Goodwill Donation Shop, the training center and Auto Zone. Not too long ago, this was an abandoned shopping center which will now thrive.
I am pleased with my administration has accomplished to attract new retail development to the township while maintaining a good mixture of existing mom and pop stores. The new stores and business operations helped keep our residential tax rate in check, although we are constantly challenged by successful tax appeals.
This fall, the Upper Darby Township, the Upper Darby School District and the Philadelphia Art Museum of Art partnered with the Inside/Out Art Program. This program displayed 10 classical art pieces placed in visible locations throughout the township. These art pieces have instilled a new interest concerning art with students and residents of Upper Darby.
The senior living complex, Alicia Court (site of the former St. Alice School), is in the final stages of construction. This complex is a welcome addition to the township around 59th and Walnut Street area. SEPTA is moving forward with plans for a multi- use building including a parking garage on the parking lot next to the 69th street terminal. The WAWA store at West Chester Pike and Park Avenue is moving along and should open within the next several months.
The 2017 preliminary budget includes a .45 mileage increase and a $25.00 per household increase in the trash/recycling fee. The recycling market has changed drastically over the last several years across the region and the county. The Township is now paying on average over $30.00 per ton to the contracted recycling agent. The proposed Police and Fire Budget is $40,805,046(55.5% of the proposed budget) of which constitutes 72.8% ofthe Budget proposed increase.
Having served as a volunteer fire chief and chairman of Council Public Safety committee, I highly respect and appreciate the work our police and fire perform every day in their efforts to protect our township. However, the increased disability cost for Officers injured in the line of duty continues to burden the Township's Annual budget. While my administration makes every effort to control these costs, work related injuries and disabilities are unavoidable. I assure you that my administrative staff and I will continue to work hard with the Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Fire Fighters to control costs; however I will not jeopardize the safety of our residents township with our efforts to achieve cost saving.
With 2016 0% increase in taxes and fees, the 2017 proposed budget is tight and my administration will continue its effort to curtail costs and control spending. I understand the burden placed on seniors and homeowners in our community and I remain committed to provide services our residents' deserve at the lowest possible cost.2017 Preliminary Budget
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