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Levies for West Chester police and fire to appear on ballot

Post Date:07/31/2020 7:54 AM

West Chester Township will place two levies on the November 3 ballot for consideration by voters – a 2-mill continuous levy for Police and a 2-mill continuous levy for Fire & EMS.

With these levy requests, West Chester voters are being asked to fund existing operations of the public safety departments, which include 9-1-1 emergency dispatch services. Neither levy reflects increased service, but rather maintaining existing service.

West Chester public safety department funding primarily comes from designated voter-approved levies. Regardless of increasing property valuations, levies only generate the same amount they did at the time of passage due to HB920 passed in 1976 and the Effective Rate. Taxpayers continue to pay approximately the same amount for these services as they did when the levies were first approved.

West Chester’s current Fire Levy is 6 mils and was approved by voters 14 years ago. In its first year of collection, it generated $11.4 million and in 2019 the levy generated $11.3 million.

In 2011, the police levy (7 mils) generated $13.9 million. In 2019, the levy generated $13.2 million for police department operations.

Increasing costs for personnel and general operations requires new levies to generate the funding necessary to provide existing services moving forward. Police and Fire & EMS expenditures in 2019 were approximately $14.5 million. Carryovers in the early years of the levies and fiscal responsibility, allowed these departments to continue services despite annual expenses greater than annual revenues.

Without passage of additional millage in November, funding resources for police and fire will be depleted by mid-year 2021.

If approved, the new levies will be layered onto the existing levies to protect the Homestead Rollback benefits for our community’s older residents.

Each 2-mil levy would generate an additional $4.2 million annually for each of the departments.

Each 2-mil levy is projected to cost residents an additional $70.00 per $100,000 assessed valuation per year.

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