Dear Whitehall Residents:
After a few years hiatus, we are pleased to bring back the end of year “State of the Borough” report to highlight some accomplishments of 2022 and look forward to celebrating the Borough’s 75th Anniversary in 2023.
As the Borough continues to rebound from the effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic and current inflation, we are well positioned financially. For the 19th consecutive year, there will be no increase in the Real Estate Tax rate. Council will retain the 4.42 millage rate, yielding almost $4 million in revenue. Property tax revenues will be augmented by the second phase of the Grove Point Townhouse Development and the Weyman Road Townhouse Project. There will be no increase in the Earned Income Tax Rate or the Storm Water Fee for 2023 as well.
Residents will see a reduction in the Borough’s Sanitary Sewer Rate as Borough Council is cognizant of the rate increases that ALCOSAN continues to impose on customers. For 2023, the Sewer Rate will decrease by 10%, remaining revenue neutral as the Sanitary Sewer Fund balance is sufficient to help fund current proposed projects necessitated by the Phase II Consent Order.
Increased interest rates have seen the Borough’s investments grow exponentially more than originally budgeted for in 2022. Staff will continue to monitor rates and maximize the Borough’s returns as part of our fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers.
The Borough finally took possession of the two Public Works dump trucks that were ordered in 2021. Additionally, a new backhoe was purchased in 2022 and a grant was recently received to purchase a front loader in 2023. The Police Department replaced two vehicles in 2022 and plans for another three in 2023 ensuring we maintain the best fleet in the South Hills.
On the expenditure side -The Borough continues to invest upwards of $2 million into the ground maintaining the storm and sanitary infrastructure. The annual Road Program will once again be paid for out of the Liquid Fuels Fund using monies received from the State gas tax.
Borough Council continues to provide significant financial suppo1i to the Whitehall Public Library and Whitehall Fire Company -around $400,000 each respectively. In 2023 an additional $225,000 will be set aside to save for a number of capital needs that the Whitehall Fire Company identified for the coming years including another vehicle purchase and new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses for members.
In anticipation of the Whitehall Swimming Pool Grand Reopening in the Spring, Recreation Director Hannah Bower has been promoted to a full-time staff member to assist in oversight of the new facility, as well as continuing to expand upon existing events and activities. A Pool Grand Opening is being planned as well as activities related to the Borough’s 75th Anniversary. Updated policies and procedures for the new pool will be announced in time.
We continue to invest in the neighborhood parks system. This year saw the installation of new playground equipment at Union Park, funded in part by a DCNR grant. Next year, Overlook Park is slated to be renovated in its entirety using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. A playground grant has already been secured for the project and additional grant monies are being pursued.
Other Capital Improvements include the continuation of the Borough Beautification Plan. New Street Signs will be installed as part of collaboration between the Public Works Department and Police Department. In collaboration with the Whitehall Borough Historical Society, the Administration Lobby will be revamped, and wall space dedicated to highlighting the Borough’s early history. Additionally, some of the current street signs will be donated to the Whitehall Borough Historical Society for a fundraiser they have planned.
In 2022, the Planning, Zoning & Code Enforcement Department migrated to a new GIS database. Access to the software will be expanded to the Public Works Department and Police Department in 2023. Next year will see the start of many necessary internal infrastructure upgrades at the Borough Building. Everything from phone and internet service to security upgrades will be addressed so we may continue to provide exceptional service to residents for another 75 years.
The Borough is looking to fill one vacancy on the Multi-Municipal Shade Tree Commission. Please contact Courtney M. Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-884-0505 if you are interested in serving.
Wishing you a happy & healthy 2023 !
Whitehall Borough Elected Officials & Staff