Township of Lower Merion

PRESS RELEASE
FOR RELEASE:

Immediate

CONTACT:

Tom Walsh, Public Information Officer (610) 645-6199
twalsh@lowermerion.org

DATE:

November 6, 2014

For 4th Straight Year, 2015 Proposed Budget
Recommends No Increase in Real Estate Taxes
Public hearings set for Nov. 19, Dec. 3
The 2015 Lower Merion Township Proposed Budget, which is posted on the
Township’s web site, recommends no increase in the Township’s Real Estate Tax
(RET) millage rate (4.19). This would be the fourth year in a row of maintaining the RET
rate unchanged.
Despite incurring unexpected winter storm expenses of about $1 million in 2014,
the year is projected to finish on budget. That has been accomplished with expenditure
savings in other areas that helped to offset the extraordinary storm costs. This positive
performance in 2014 is projected to allow the use of the unreserved fund balance to be
kept below budget for the year, while setting a positive direction for the 2015 Budget.
Township Manager Ernie McNeely’s budget message points to the following
important facts in the 2015 Proposed Budget:

The high quality and quantity of service delivery levels provided by the Township
are maintained without any proposed increase in the tax rate.

The proposed 2015 General Fund (GF) expenditure budget increase is a modest
2.5% higher than the 2014 Budget.

Use of $2.3 million from fund balance to finance the Proposed 2015 Budget
projects the 2015 ending GF fund balance to fall from 31% to approximately
26.4% of 2015 expenditures, still well above the Township’s 15% to 18% policy
range.

There is no fee rate increase projected for the Solid Waste Fund Budget.

The Sewer Fund Budget projects deficit spending, and may require a rate
increase in 2015, but will be reviewed next spring, once the 2014 consumption
records are available.

The Capital Projects Fund Budget includes $45.8 million in project funding with
$15 million of that from Township funds.

Township staffing levels in 2015 are further reduced with the elimination of 3
fulltime positions and 3 part-time positions.
“I am pleased to deliver a positive no-tax increase budget for 2015 that will

preserve quality public services for the fine Lower Merion Township community,” said
McNeely. “The provision of public services is inherently labor intensive as over 67% of
the budget is personnel-related expense, and clearly our emphasis is public safety since
approximately 41% is for public safety services.”
The budget message includes an updated Five Year Forecast, a history of the
Township’s Real Estate Tax and alternative revenue measures and other background
information and data.
“This is a Township that prides itself on thorough fiscal discipline, with a keen eye
on planning for the years to come,” said Lower Merion Commissioner Brian McGuire,
Finance Committee Chair. “Our professional, award-winning team led by Finance
Director Dean Dortone considers the interests of all of our residents, homeowners and
businesses in its work, leading to a real feeling of confidence that our financial house
remains in order.”

“I am pleased that Manager McNeely’s 2015 Proposed Budget marks the fourth
straight year that Lower Merion has attained the goal of a zero percent tax increase for
the residents of our Township,” said Elizabeth Rogan, Board President. “His proven
track record of sound financial stewardship has clearly carried over to his role here at
Lower Merion, and Ernie has shown that he aims to maintain and improve upon the high
quality of services and programs that our citizens have come to expect.”
The first Public Hearing on the 2015 Proposed Budget will take place on
Wednesday, November 19th at approximately 8 p.m., and the second Public Hearing
will be held on Wednesday, December 3rd at approximately 6:30 p.m. in the Board
Room of the Township Administration Building. The 2015 Proposed Budget and six-year
Capital Improvement Program for 2015—2020 are scheduled for adoption on Monday,
December 15th.
The 2015 Proposed Budget and 2015-2020 Capital Improvement Program can
be accessed directly from the Township home page, at www.lowermerion.org and from
a link on the Township Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/LowerMerion-Township/577249298996073?fref=ts). Citizens unable to participate in the public
hearing process are invited to e-mail 2015budget@lowermerion.org to provide
feedback.
##