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Quakertown to Undertake Multi-Million Dollar Projects in 2015
Written by Kelly Kalb Correspondent

                Officials in Quakertown said they have several high-dollar projects pegged for 2015 but have no plans to raise taxes.

                At a Monday night work session, the borough discussed their proposed $27.5 million budget.  It reflects several projects, including the replacement of all borough electric meters with a pricetag of approximately $830,000. The replacement will be done throughout Quakertown and will provide automated features for easier and more accurate use.

                Water and sewer meters will also be replaced, but over a four-year time frame with $90,000 for water and $122,000 for sewer in 2015, borough Vice President Donald Rosenberger said.

                Officials plan to carry over project items into 2015 that were not completed in 2014, such as a "sally port," or secure entryway, for  better security measures at t he police department at a cost of $550,000 and the replacement of the heating and cooling system in borough hall for $200,000.

                Rosenberger mentioned a 2014 surplus is expected at $740,000 which is essentially money not used or revenue exceeding expenditures. He remarked the surplus was driven by a delay in the aforementioned "sally port" and HVAC system replacement.

                The borough plans to continue with the efforts put forth in economic development and focus on under-utilized properties.  Support for community events and fire protection remain a top priority as well with contributions for both planned again for 2015.

                The community pool will also see some changes with an inflatable water slide and concession stand improvements planned for 2015 at approximately $37,000.

                While the borough's 2015 budget contains many items, the overall total is $27,518,287 and will offer no tax increase. The current 1.625 mils is roughly $40 in real estate taxes for the average homeowner in the borough, Rosenberger said.

                The debt service fee will also see a decrease for residents by about 36 percent. This means customers who use 72,000 gallons or less of water will pay $9 per month as opposed to the current $14 per month. Rosenberger said, "Most residents will notice a drop of about $60 per year."

                Borough President Jim Roberts explained an itemized 2015 budget packet is available at borough hall for any interested residents. The preliminary budget will be up for approval at the next scheduled council meeting, Wed., Dec. 3.

                In other business, officials are contemplating removal of trees that are wreaking havoc to sidewalks throughout the downtown. Councilwoman Lisa Gaier explained, "Trees that were previously planted are now pushing up their roots and creating a safety hazard on many of the sidewalks."

                The project would include removal of approximately 29 trees (17 of which would be removed by year's end), repair to the damaged sidewalks, and placement of large planters to the areas affected.          

                After further discussion at the Dec. 3 council meeting, bids may be accepted for removal of the trees. Officials are hoping to establish an estimate of total cost prior to any work being started.





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