October 27, 2020
City of Sharon
155 W. Connelly Blvd.
Sharon, PA 16146
Dear Members of Council:
Attached is the proposed general operating budget for 2021. Following this submission to Council, as required by the City Charter, the budget will be posted for the public on the City’s website. Budget hearings have been scheduled for November 16th, 2020, at 6:00 PM, and December 2nd, 2020, at 6:00 PM.
Virtually the same as the previous year (2020) and totaling $8,946,970 in expenditures, the 2021 budget proposes no tax increase for the 11th consecutive year. Although the budget contains a 2% wage increase for employees, due to retirements and their replacement with less expensive personnel, wages only increased by $6,000. The budget funds the unused sick time buy back of four (4) potential retirees in the Police and Fire Departments.
For 2021, the City has budgeted and will pay a total of $591,318 in debt service, consisting of $480,998 and $110,320 in principal and interest payments, respectively. The proposed budget includes an additional $31,292 allocation for capital improvements. The funds will be supporting the $2,794,047 in the Capital Budget, including but not limited to: Neighborhood Revitalization Project Phase 3, and Streetscape Irvine Route 62 Project, Downtown Sharon Riverfront Urban Park Project, as well as small capital purchases in 2021.
The proposed budget allocates an additional $130,000 to demolition and blight remediation, $30,000 of which is earmarked as the match for a $300,000 Blight Remediation Grant. These funds are in addition to the $100,000 contributed annually from Community Development Block Grant and anticipated funds contributed by the Sharon Sanitary Authority.
Although the City’s finances are stable, as illustrated in the City’s fourth consecutive positive fiscal audit, the budget does not address staffing deficiencies for multiple departments stressed with increased demand and limited capacity. The merged position of City Manager and Fire Chief has saved the City approximately $450,000 since 2016. The proposed 2021 budget does not address succession planning and administrative support in the Fire Department, putting it off yet another year.
With much consideration of the negative effects that the Coronavirus has had on the local economy and our residents, the budget was prepared by carefully and conservatively reviewing historical data in projecting revenue and in analyzing the realistic cost of providing all necessary services. We are committed to serving Sharon residents and businesses in a manner that is affordable and valued. I look forward to discussing the budget and working with members of City Council through its eventual adoption.
Robert G. Fiscus, MPA, EFO, ICMA-CM
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