Brentwood keeps tax rate despite looming big-ticket projects
Brentwood leaders plan to break ground in 2019 on a $6 million new municipal building project and $3 million renovation to the borough’s pool.
However, residents won’t be paying more in real estate taxes in 2019, and a five-year projection indicates taxes likely won’t need to go up for those years, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said.
Borough council members on Dec. 10 agreed to hold the line on real estate taxes for the fourth straight year at 10 mills. Property owners with a home assessed at $100,000 will pay an estimated $1,000 in borough real estate taxes in 2019.
Borough council members also approved Brentwood’s $24 million budget for 2019, which includes $9.03 million in the general fund, $6.3 million in the sewer fund, $180,000 in the park fund, $4.1 million in the capital funding including the pool project, $6 million in the municipal building project fund, $500,000 in the highway aid fund and $360,000 in reserves for a “rainy day,” Zboyovsky said.
With the two major projects about to get under way, the budget has grown from $16.7 million in 2018.
Much of the funding for the projects came from a $7 million bond the borough took out this year, Zboyovsky said. Brentwood also received nearly $1 million in grants for the pool project.
“I just scratch my head sometimes with how we’ve been getting all of these grants,” Zboyovsky said. He credits them to the hard work of the borough staff and the relationships built with state leaders.
Council members on Dec. 10 approved the land development plan for the borough building project, Zboyovsky said.
Architects now are in the process of finalizing plans for the new 10,000-square-foot, single-floor municipal building planned for the former Snee Dairy site at 3735 Brownsville Road. The municipal building will house the Brentwood Police Department on one end and administration on the other, with central public corridors accessing council chambers, Zboyovsky said.
Brentwood leaders for decades have talked about and studied the need for a new municipal building, as the century-old facility they now operate from is quickly deteriorating.
“It’s long overdue,” Zboyovsky said. “I’m sitting in my office freezing right now…. From the water dripping upstairs to the rats running through the hallways, it’s needed.”
The layout of the new building also will allow for more efficient operating costs.
As for the 50-year-old pool, it’s had its own problems.
The new pool will have better access with zero depth entry and amenities for kids, including a big slide. There also will be more green space.
The pool will be closed in 2019 to allow for construction. However, Brentwood residents will have the option to use the Baldwin Borough pool at a resident rate, Zboyovsky said.
Plans are to go out to bid for both projects in the first two months of the new year and break ground as soon as the warm weather hits.
The pool is scheduled to open on Memorial Day 2020. The new municipal building opening will follow in July 2020.
“If all goes well, we’ll be having two ribbon-cuttings in 2020,” Zboyovsky said.
The borough’s 2019 budget also includes the addition of two full-time police officers, bringing the 12-member department back up to 14, Zboyovsky said. The borough’s ongoing street rehabilitation program and sidewalk repair program also will continue.
The budget also includes $170,000 for stormwater work.
Sewage rates staying same
Brentwood leaders on Dec. 10 also agreed not to raise the borough’s sewage rates for 2019.
Residents in 2019 will continue to pay $8.91 per 1,000 gallons and a $4.57 monthly service charge to the borough.
ALCOSAN rate increases will be passed along to residents. Residents in 2019 will pay $7.94 per 1,000 gallons for ALCOSAN, up from $7.42 in 2018, Zboyovsky said.
ALCOSAN’s monthly service charge also will increase to $5.56 from $5.20 in 2018.
Brentwood council members voted 5-1 on the sewage rates. Councilman Pat Carnevale dissented. Councilman Rich Schubert was absent.
Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.