Here is a copy of the BAWG report for those unable to attend the Budget Workshop meeting yesterday. The report is now available on the township website. I just gave the report a quick review – some of the suggestions are to be expected. Cited are various ways to reduce expenses including centralizing purchasing, placing a ‘hold’ on capital projects, etc. I am alarmed that there continues to be a notion of reducing the staff. About a month ago, there was a township-wide reduction in staff so I can only hope that this report is not suggesting further reductions but rather that the recent reductions were the implementation indicated in this report. In my opinion, further reductions in staff will clearly result in further reductions of services. There is a delicate balance between reduction of services and creating a potential crisis and/or emergency situation within the township. Not intending to be an alarmist, I am concerned what continued reductions will do for the quality of life in this community.
I was part of a 5-member budget group of the Paoli Business & Professional Association (PBPA) that met with the BAWG members in July. Following our meeting, we provided the members of the BAWG committee and the Board of Supervisors with PBPA’s suggestions for possible expense reductions and revenue sources, from a small business standpoint. One of the suggestions of our PBPA group for the BAWG was a review of Earned Income Tax (EIT) as a possible source of township revenue. At the meeting with BAWG, Dave Brill, Tredyffrin’s Finance Director offered that the estimated revenue was $8M should an EIT be instituted. It would appear from the BAWG report, that our suggested review of EIT was dismissed by BAWG. My understanding from the BAWG report is the suggestion of a ‘flat business tax’ be imposed — meaning that major corporations (Vanguard, Unisys) would be taxed the same as the small businesses located in the township (i.e. the Great Valley House, my small bed & breakfast). Yet, BAWG concludes negatively on further exploration of EIT, based on 2007 T/E School Board findings. I believe that Tom Coleman led the budget review committee for the school board as he did as the chair of BAWG. On the topic of EIT, BAWG concludes that the implementation of EIT is a ‘short-sighted’ approach. I suggest that the opposite is true — it is ‘short-sighted’ not to review the pros and cons of EIT. The residents of Tredyffrin are owed an open and thorough review of ‘all’ revenue sources (including EIT). It should be an obligation for the Board of Supervisors to provide all information to the public, and not make decisions in a vacuum.