West Chester began the new year with optimism and renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility and community-building.
The 2021 operational budget, presented to the Board of Trustees in January, includes $48.1 million of expenditures, a 5% decrease from 2020.
In 2021, more than $33 million will be invested in police and fire services for the community. This accounts for 69% of the operational budget. Voter support of police and fire levies in November made it possible to continue this commitment to public safety.
Approximately $2.3 million is budgeted from Roads Funds for infrastructure improvements, including culverts, curbs, and paving on Township roads. In 2021, two replacement salt trucks ($320,000 total) are also part of the budget.
For the past 20-plus years, West Chester has benefitted from economic development success and the resulting Tax Increment Financing funds which are not considered as part of the operational budget. In 2021 more than $8.4 million in Township projects will be funded in this way.
TIF provides the opportunity to direct funds collected through successful economic growth to projects in the Township. Property owners within defined TIF Districts in the Township are assessed a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) on the increased value of the property. As the property value increases with development PILOT is paid into the TIF, while property taxes continue to be paid on the base value of the property.
The collection of these payments has allowed West Chester Township to pay for fire apparatus, fire stations and police headquarters; and also amenities like MidPointe Library, the Square; some features at Beckett Park; The Diverging Diamond Interchange; and much more without asking voters for additional funding.
In 2021, TIF will fund the completion of landscape work at the new DDI with an estimated price tag of $4 million. Viewed as the welcome mat to West Chester’s corporate center, the design will feature extensive landscape and hardscape features.
An additional $1 million in TIF will go toward extending the street lighting districts in the Union Centre area, extending lighting to Cincinnati-Dayton Road and from Beckett Road to State Route 747.
Other projects funded in TIF in 2021 include:
$500,000 for the Olde West Chester Pocket Park on Station Road at Cincinnati-Dayton Road
$250,000 to improve the entrance to the Township Safety Services building for improved safety and aesthetics
$250,000 to extend a West Chester Road Water main for improved fire service to the area
In addition to these larger projects, TIF will pay for paving on some roads, a study of the potential for expanding the library building, and others.
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