While it was a very good year for Solebury’s 2019 financial audit, “the shadow of COVID-19 ... cautions us to consider a different picture for Fiscal Year 2020,” Supervisor Robert McEwan, financial liaison, explained at the board’s May 19 meeting.
The 2020 COVID impact, he told the Zoom session, may mean “loss of revenues from earned income taxes, reductions of state funding for non-essential programs, costs for emergency preparedness and shortages of personnel.”
He praised Michele Blood, the township’s financial director and assistant manager, for her work on the audit and listed the 2019 audit highlights:
- Overall revenues increased about 6.3 percent, excluding capital grants and contributions. Real estate tax collections were about 5 percent higher than 2018.
- Increased revenue and decreased operating expenses enabled the township to transfer about $1.3 million in excess funds to capital reserve and capital equipment funds, roads and bridges and the park capital fund.
- Citing the township’s robust financial position and solid tax base, Moody’s Investor Services upgraded Solebury’s rating to Aa1.
- The township issued $7.4 million in non-electoral debt, which allowed it it retire and refinance $6.3 million of existing debt and take on about $1 million in new debt to continue Land Preservation efforts. This issuance was at a lower interest rate which will save the township about $200,000 in interest expense.
- For Solebury’s Aquetong Spring Park project the township has pursued county, state and federal funding. The project is budgeted at about $3.4 million and nearly $2.4 million, or 68 percent, has been funded by external grants. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2022.