EDDYSTONE — The borough's preliminary presentation of the 2020 budget at its regular December meeting shows a possible 1 1/2- to 2-mill increase to meet estimated general fund expenditures of $4,289,586. The current millage rate is 9.1 mill. The sewer fee presented is $345 per unit. The borough does not have a separate trash collection fee. Final adoption of the budget will be 6 p.m. Dec. 30.
Joseph Possenti Jr. of Possenti Consultants said a millage increase would mean an additional $110 to $115 per household to fund the proposed budget.
The proposed budget shows a 5 percent increase per year over a five-year period for the new FOP contract with the police department. This percentage rate sparked a spirited discussion among some members of the audience and councilman Bill Stewart, who contended that the police contract would have a "serious impact" on the budget, adding that he is not implying that the police are not entitled to a raise.
Glen Wilson, who is a councilman-elect, commented that the current council did not vote on the FOP contract.
"Without taking a vote, it is not a contract," Wilson said.
Reeves and Wilson sparred over her allegations that he called a police officer to his home to discuss the FOP contract. Wilson denied doing so.
Stewart said the action of the FOP contract is that of a lame-duck council and he voted no on ratifying the contract, noting that his vote reflects his comments on the issue he brought up during the council discussion.
Several members of council said the new FOP contract is meant to bring the salaries of borough police officers in line with officers in neighboring municipalities. Reeves said the nine full-time borough officers covered in the contract are below the base pay paid to police in other departments. Officers' current base pay is $75,000 a year, about $10,000 less than the base pay of police officers in neighboring communities. The part-time officers will also receive 5 percent increases in their hourly rate, which is now $17 per hour, starting in 2021. In the first year of the contract the hourly rate will go up to $20.
The new contract will provide a 10 percent raise in the first year if an officer receives a national certification as an EMT.
In another matter, council voted to approved the merger between DELCORA and Aqua.
In her report to council, borough engineer Lisa Catania suggested that a Request For Proposal be prepared to engage a qualified energy conservation consultant to complete a measure to replace HVAC, interior lighting and exterior lighting in all borough buildings.