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Municipal budget time dawns in Solebury Township

It’s crunch time for the Solebury supervisors as they try to come up with a budget for next year.
“The budget review for 2021 is critical given the uncertain times in which we live and are likely to live in for quite some time,” supervisor Chair Mark Baum Baicker told the board on Tuesday.
Due to an expected decline in tax receipts, the board has already deferred paving work in Livezey Park and a planned Public Works storage facility until at least 2022, saving about $350,000, he said.
Michele Blood, assistant township manager, said overall township receipts are 6 percent lower than last year, but noted that according to Keystone Collections group, which collects the local Earned Income Tax (EIT) “we will feel the crunch next year.”
Blood said that so far, “we’re right on target” when it comes to collecting real estate taxes.
The board started its 2021 budget process by hearing requests from, Dudley Rice of the Parks and Recreation Department and from Township Manager Dennis Carney for the Public Works Department.
“Overall, we’re pretty much in line with previous years,” Rice said, but added that the Winter Festival, which had earned the township $12,000 before, has now been canceled.
Supervisor John Francis cited climate change for wanting to see less cutting of grass.
Rice replied that while playing fields are cut the usual length, surrounding areas can grow from 8 to 10 inches before being cut.
Carney reported that the Public Works projected spending was “relatively unchanged.”
He said $25,000 was proposed for design and engineering for the Public Works storage facility, but the actual construction will be delayed.
Supervisor Keven Morrissey suggested that at the next budget work session in a couple of weeks the board discuss the “community’s ability to be more energy efficient as well as being increasingly judicious in the use of limited resources.”
The Police Department will present its budget needs at the board’s Oct. 6 meeting.
The board also renewed its block grant for fire companies for 2021, which gives $500 to each firefighter or active fire police person who resides in Solebury. The grant covers the New Hope, Midway and Point Pleasant fire companies.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Ralph O’Banion from the Land Preservation Committee.
“He was a backbone of the LPC for well more than 30 years,” said Baum Baicker. “He worked tirelessly in support of our open space program and for that Solebury Township owes him a huge debt of gratitude.
“I learned a ton from Ralph,” he added.
Supervisor Robert McEwan noted that Solebury “has preserved 36.7 percent of its land now and a lot of that is thanks to Ralph.”
Morrissey said the Farm Committee also has a vacancy and anyone interested on serving should contact Cathy Cataldi, administrative assistant, at the municipal building to arrange an interview.