UPPER DARBY – Up, up, up - taxes, trash fees and sewer fees are all going up next year due to increasing costs.
Mayor Thomas Micozzie presented the $82.3 million 2020 preliminary budget at township council’s regular meeting this week, noting the increase in real estate, trash and sewer fees.
A homeowner with a $108,000 average assessment paying $2,262 this year will pay an additional $147, for a total of $2,309 next year.
The proposed budget also includes increases for sewer rental from $205 to $215 and a trash collection fee increase from $190 to $235 per household.
“Recycling and trash disposal fees charged to the township have continued to increase over the years,” Micozzie said. “The growing recycling and trash fees have placed tremendous pressure on this township’s budget. The administration is optimistic that the trash fees will stabilize in the near future, however, it is also anticipated that the recycling fees will, unfortunately continue to escalate.
“These ever increasing recycling fees are often compounded by the increased recycling collectibles as well as by the mixed products improperly recycled.”
According to Micozzie, an agreement was reached with Millbourne Borough for Upper Darby to provide fire coverage to the adjacent town for $40,000 per year covering fire protection services, fire prevention, hazardous materials control and emergency support. It does not include ambulance service.
“This has been a very hard and complicated budget to compile,” Micozzie said. “I understand the economic pressure all households are facing and consider this during the process. The township administration and department leadership continually monitor township expenses and work to identify opportunities where we can tighten our belt. However, my administration also understands that being cost conscious can impact the level of services provided to our residents.”
Micozzie noted the new start-up and permit fees implemented this year increased revenue.
He turned the budget over to council to review and make suggestions.
Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Judge Jr. will provide specifics on the budget at the Oct. 9 meeting.
Finance Chairman Thomas Wagner announced the Finance Appropriation Committee will meet with members of the administration and every department head after the Oct.9 presentation.
Public hearings on the budget will be Nov. 6 and 13, with a vote on the final budget set for Dec. 4.
In other business, James Krieger, of the 300 block of Lakeview Avenue, Drexel Hill, cited the speeding cars traveling on his block.
“It’s very common,” Krieger said. “Cars are going at least 45 mph,” on the street posted 15 mph.
Owen Avenue, which runs parallel to Lakeview three blocks away, is presently awaiting a calming installation on the street to deal with speeders.
At least one resident on Owen is not happy with the proposal, asking council to restore parking affected by the realignment.
“I lost parking spaces (on the street) due to deliberate narrowing,” Frances Sherman said. “A contractor told me my house is devalued. Please restore our parking.”
The mayor and council also honored Bobby Matthews, a 25-year sports announcer at Observatory Field, Highland Park, serving the St. Laurence, Highland Park and Kirklyn teams.
Matthews, 50, was a member of the St. Laurence Varsity Football and known as ‘the voice’ of the team while serving as commentator.
“For the past 25 years, Bobby Matthews has entertained the St. Laurence football crowd with his energetic play-by-play announcements,” Micozzie said, noting he also served as announcer for the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Playoffs and Championship football games since 2013.
“He’s not only a local hero, he’s my hero,” Councilman Marc Manfre said. “Bobby was a big part of St. Laurence CYO.”
The entire Sikh community also was honored with the mayor’s World Equality Day proclamation.
Micozzie noted 2019 is significant for the Sikhs across the globe in celebration of the 550th birth of the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak.
“Upper Darby is home to a thriving Sikh community and business owners who have helped enrich the diversity of the township,” Micozzie said. “Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated throughout the Upper Darby Sikh community and relive his preaching’s and teachings that are quoted in the sacred book of Guru Granth Sahib, a compilation of poetry and thoughts.”