By Terry Rogers
On Monday, June 12, 2017, Milford City Council passed a balanced city budget with no tax increases. The passage of the budget followed two hearings held on June 5 and 6 where city agencies and charitable organizations in the City were able to present their requests for additional funding.
“I am pleased that we have, once again, passed a balanced budget with no property tax increase,” Mayor Bryan Shupe said. “The City Council and I recognize that there are many individuals and families with tight budgets and small businesses that are struggling to grow in this economy, so it is important for the City to operate frugally as well.”
During the two nights of budget hearings, Council thoroughly reviewed all requests for funding as well as anticipated revenue to cover expenses. The budget, which totals almost $43 million, was approved unanimously.
Some requests from organizations and departments were denied. Milford Parks and Recreation requested funding for new sports fields and a sand volleyball court, but Council determined there was not money in the budget for those items. Council did approve $25,000 to allow the department to renovate a building behind the vacant Milford Armory to store their equipment. Prior to the passage of the budget, Carlisle Fire Company presented documentation that demonstrated their need for funding from the City and that amount was included in the budget. A request from Milford Museum for increased funding was denied for this year.
The budget allowed for the Milford Police Department to replace two patrol vehicles. Funding was also included for various street repair projects and the equipment necessary to perform those functions. These included a spray patching machine for pothole and alley repairs as well as pavement resurfacing at various locations. The budget also includes funding for the City’s share in replacing Riverwalk decking.
“Interns will be used to conduct pavement assessments for future pavement maintenance plans,” Eric Norenberg, City Manager, said. “The City also plans some major capital improvements, including replacement of deteriorated curb on Southeast Second Street and rehabilitation of the sewer line on that street in advance of DelDOT repaving. We will also be replacing sewer and water line on Northeast and Northwest Front Street before the DelDOT repaving project.”
According to Mr. Norenberg, the City budget serves a number of purposes for the City. It provides citizens with information about City operations and details how funds are used. City department heads, including the Chief of Police, use the budget as a monitoring tool for expenditures and revenues. The budget also serves to evaluate and ensure that public resources are used in the most effective and efficient manner.
“In addition, an electric rate decrease recently took effect this month and a 50-cent increase in the monthly solid waste fee will go into effect in July,” Mr. Norenberg said. “Most non-union City employees will receive a pay increased based on three percent of the midpoint of their salary range.”
The City announced that randomly selected households will receive a resident survey. Later this summer, the City will begin developing a strategic plan. Resident participation in both will help provide guidance for the development of budgets for future years.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.