Quick! What’s the biggest source of revenue for the borough? What is Media’s biggest ongoing expense? If you know the answers to these questions, you can stop reading now. If you don’t, you might want to keep reading to get a brief overview of Media’s $13 million budget for 2019.
Media’s General Fund budget for 2019 is about $9 million. The General Fund is the largest portion of the $13 million total budget. The Capital Fund budget makes up most of the remaining portion.
Where does the money come from? As you might have guessed, taxes comprise the bulk of the borough’s revenue, but there are several different kinds of taxes. The largest portion of tax revenue ($4 million) comes from the Earned Income Tax, a 1% tax on the income of borough residents and people who work in the borough. The borough will collect an additional $1 million from real estate and $1 million in business and other taxes. The remaining $3 million will come from a combination of rent ($885K), licenses, permits, fees, and parking fees and fines ($810K). You may not have known that we get $525,700 per year in rent from Aqua for their use of the property under the water and sewage treatment plants.
What do we spend all that money on? The biggest portion ($3.8 million or 43%) goes to the police department. We spend $1.2 million (13.5%) on “General Government.” This category includes the borough manager and his staff of financial and support personnel, IT support, and ongoing building costs. The 3rd largest category is Highways and Streets Maintenance. We spend $1.2 million (13%) on salaries and benefits for the men who keep our streets clean and well maintained. Our sanitation department (trash collection) costs $464,000 (5.2%). These are the four largest budget categories. Together they make up 75% of general fund expenses. Here’s an interesting fact from the remaining portion of the budget; Media will spend $160,000 to support the library and the same amount to maintain its shade trees.
What about the rest of the $13 million budget? So far, we’ve only accounted for $9 million. Most of the rest is in the “Capital Fund.” This is the fund from which we spend money for items that cost over $5,000 and will last at least five years. Like the General Fund, the Capital fund has both revenues and expenses.
Revenues for the $4 million Capital Fund budget come primarily from two sources. $1 million comes from grant funding, mostly from the state government. The remaining $3 million will come from the Capital Reserve account which is essentially the borough’s savings account.
Expenses from the Capital Fund will include $2.8M for Public Works. There are some big projects scheduled for 2019, including a wayfinding signage project for $956,000 and $346,000 for new parking kiosks. (The wayfinding signage project is funded primarily with a state grant.)
The police are planning to spend about $439,000 on capital investments. They plan to build a “sally port” (a structure to increase security when transferring detainees from police cars). An additional $115,000 is budgeted for bodycams.
Finally, about $323,000 is budgeted for improvements to borough facilities. The largest portion of this amount ($287K) is earmarked for the new park at 5th and Broomall (it is supplemented by a $200,000 grant from the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources).
Borough Council formally adopted this budget in December of 2018 after a process lasting several months. In November, Council voted on a preliminary budget to give the public and Council a chance to provide input before the final budget was adopted in December.
There is much more to learn about Media’s budget. If you’d like to know more (e.g., How much did the Borough contribute to the Media Theatre?), you can look it up yourself online here.