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The problem with this PSD budget number is that it is above the 2.4 percent increase allowed by the state. If Mrs. Adams can’t “whittle” down that figure any further, the board will need to ask permission from the state to make an exception and allow a larger tax increase.
The big picture here is that Pottstown Borough Council just passed a budget with a 1.68 percent tax increase. Pottstown Borough and Pottstown School District occupy the same geographical area and the residents of Pottstown are not just getting one increase, but TWO. Even if Mrs. Adams can get to the state mandated 2.4 percent increase, taxpayers are on the hook for a 4.08 percent increase. I am guessing possibly higher.
As Councilor Rhoads has pointed out time and again, most people have a finite amount of money to work with each year. With the current state of the U.S. economy, finding extra money is very difficult. Pottstown has a large percentage of senior citizens on fixed incomes. We also have a large percentage of low-income residents and residents below the poverty level.
People are having to make choices between food, heat, housing and taxes. This is flat-out wrong. This spending addiction pissing contest between the Borough of Pottstown and the Pottstown School District is killing the average Pottstown resident. We are on the edge of the cliff staring down at the bottom of the ravine. There is no where left to go except down in flames or move out of Pottstown, if that option is even available. Many people are too financially strapped to even escape.
We do not need four fire companies nor do we need five elementary schools and two annex buildings. Are we looking at job performance? If we are not getting enough bang for the buck would outsourcing services make more sense? We cannot afford all these salaries, benefits and pensions, which make up the lion’s share of both organization’s budgets. We haven’t even felt the pain of the upcoming pension crisis with the school district.
The economy is not going to improve fast enough to save the day. We need long-term financial solutions for both taxing entities in this town. Frankly, I am not seeing enough effort being made to address these very serious problems that impact 22,377 people by either entity.