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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we move into the last days of August and into the cooler autumnal season, on behalf of Lansdowne Borough Council I wish all families returning to the school year a joyous and happy fall. The fall continues to herald the continued economic growth of the Borough of Lansdowne with the completion of several projects and the opening of new businesses in our downtown.
Over the past few weeks I have been reminded in my own sphere of the many organizations and volunteers that keep Lansdowne running through the organization of such events as the Ice Cream Social by the Greater Gladstone Civic Association for neighbors to meet with neighbors. And, the continued good work of the Animal Friends of Lansdowne to provide both veterinary services and homes for the many abandoned animals. And, on behalf of Council, I want to give special thanks to Officer Albertoli, Bobbie Harris, Mary Young, Beth Harmer and all of the participants.
On behalf of all of Council, I want to thank the many volunteers, donors, officials, and employees who have worked and continue to work towards building and strengthening the community bonds in Lansdowne.
This past July 27th and 28th, I attended the PSAB Municipal Legal Update conducted by the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs to receive training on Council’s role and responsibility for supervision of the Police Department and Council’s role and responsibility for supervision of code enforcement. Public Safety is working on the roles for the police department and tonight we have a preliminary look at an Ordinance for Code of Conduct of elected, appointed, officials, and employees which outlines roles and responsibilities.
Lansdowne Borough continues to attract new businesses and works towards the development of our business districts, neighborhoods, and quality of life in Lansdowne. The Farmer’s Market is once again open and thriving in the Lansdowne Avenue parking lot every Saturday from 9:00-1:00. A new coffee shop, Camellia Coffee Shop, is projected to have a soft opening next week at 20 North Lansdowne Avenue and have a formal ribbon-cutting on September 17th at 11AM.
In the same space, The Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation in conjunction with Penn State Brandywine is open for new clients in the Launchbox on South Lansdowne Avenue.
At the last meeting in July, Lansdowne Borough Council voted to pass the Land Redevelopment Plan for the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation and also to expand the initial easements that Council granted last December with waived fees to allow for the Lansdowne Theater to use the Highland Avenue Lot for Stormwater Management.
Similarly, Mayor Magda Byrne, Chief Rutherford, Borough Manager Craig Totaro, and I met with the Representative Gina Hackett Curry and Senator Tim Kearney on August 5th to strategize on parking solutions for the influx of patrons on the performance days. As a result, Craig Totaro is in consultation with the County Planning Department and SEPTA to discuss possible options including SEPTA incentives and satellite parking as alternatives. Lansdowne Borough Council eagerly anticipates the groundbreaking and development of the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation.
On September 10th from 11-2, the Borough of Lansdowne looks forward to celebrating Shadeland Avenue Day sponsored by the LBPA (Lansdowne Business and Professional Association) and also supports the LBPAs Night Market occurring on September 15th at the Lansdowne Landing. On behalf of Lansdowne Borough Council, I would like to thank LBPA for the advocacy for the Lansdowne Business and Professional Community
Lansdowne Borough Council voted to award NV5 Design the contract to develop the building plan and engineering work to develop Veteran’s Parkway. In Phase 2 of the Engineering plan with NV5 design, the Parks and Recreation Board will have the ability to provide input on the plantings and furniture design,—all subject to Council approval.
Please find the revised plan passed unanimously by Council, here.
McKinley Avenue Tot Lot:
Lansdowne Borough Council is pleased to report that the work on McKinley Tot Lot continues unabated. The next steps will be to install the equipment. Special Thanks to Councilmember Carol Martsolf for her in depth and engaging Tot Lot notes.
On August 19th, Mayor Magda Byrne, Council President Hover, Carol Martsolf, Chair of the Environment, Parks, and Recreation Committee and Jessica Pointer of the Parks and Recreation Board celebrated the installation of Solar Tables. All individuals are invited to join Borough Council at the greatan event hosted in August by the Environmental Advisory Council, Food and Our Planet. Learn more here.
Please mark your calendars.
There are a number of great events coming up hosted by Lansdowne Borough or community organizations:
On August 24th, Lansdowne Borough will mark our solidarity with the Ukrainian People by hosting a Flag Raising of the Ukrainian Flag at 6:00 P. M. to celebrate Ukrainian Independence Day.
On August 27th, community celebration at Hays Park.
On September 10th, please join the LBPA and the businesses on Shadeland Avenue for Shadeland Avenue Day.
On September 15th, LBPA Night Market and Open Sound Series at the Lansdowne Landing.
On September 17th, Lansdowne Borough will host a Community Bike Ride and Walk beginning at 1:00 with a Community Fair after in the Highland Avenue Lot until 4:00. Thank you to WSFS, the Delaware County Transportation Planning Committee, the Bike DELCO, and the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition for sponsoring. There will be a raffle for free bikes, bike helmets, and free ice cream for participants.
Over the next three months, Lansdowne Borough Council will be discussing the Budget for 2023. To be open and transparent in the process, Council will not only have the discussions in council, but also an informational meeting for the Borough of Lansdowne to be scheduled at the end of September. The budgeting process includes discussion of projected expenses and revenues. As a Borough, Council is restricted by PA Borough Code in revenue generation to real estate taxes, local services tax, and an earned income tax. The Sewer Fee and Trash Fee are both created in relationship to fees charged by Aqua and the county.
In creation of the budget, Council considers not just the next year expenditures, but also anticipates the projections over the next five years with consideration of possible pension obligations, new hires, and capital projects that will be undertaken.
Please see here a list of current tax rates, fees, past budgets, bond rating reports, and audited statements here:
For a breakdown and comparison of tax rates from the County, School District, and Municipality, please see the tax rate document here from the County Website:
Lansdowne Borough Council has worked to maintain a high quality of life in the Borough of Lansdowne: by investing in our Sanitation and Highway Departments through supporting the great members of the SEIU; through providing for the public safety by equipping and training our highly professional Police Department of full time officers and investing in a new truck for the Fire Department; by developing recreational opportunities through investment in new amenities in our parks, building parks, and pedestrian and bicycle pathways; and, in maintaining the quality of our real estate through the expansion of the code enforcement department from 1 to 3 full time officers; attracting businesses and developers to our downtown through our contracts with the LEDC and support of the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation.
Currently, our Borough is in an excellent fiscal situation with a fund balance of approximately $1.45 million. This fund balance allows the Borough to apply for grants and pay for projects that allow our Borough to remain competitive with the development in surrounding communities. According to the Government Finance Officers Association, the minimum recommended fund balance for Borough operations is 16.7% of the budget. Currently, the Borough of Lansdowne is at 16%.
In the coming two months, Borough Council will explore how to build on the successes through strategic investments. Over the past three years, Borough Council attempted to cap and reduce real estate taxes despite inflationary pressures on the budget caused by wage increases and pensions contributions. As a result, the Earned Income Tax of .5% allowed for no increase in real estate tax in 2020 and 2021 and a 5% reduction in 2022.
Borough Council will examine the possible options on the budget with various scenarios of maintaining the current tax rates or altering the Earned Income Tax and Real Estate Taxes.
Public Service/ Appointed Boards:
We invite all residents who are interested in participating in local government to view the Boards and Commissions page to view the possibilities. We also invite residents to attend the meeting of the Boards, Commissions, Council Committee meetings, and Borough Council meetings. Sign up for the newsletter and feel free to reach out to the Mayor or Councilmembers with any questions or concerns.
Hope to see you around town or at any of the many community events.