EXETER – Although Exeter officials are still projecting a debt for next year, the tone at a council meeting Tuesday night was much more positive than at recent meetings, as the borough announced additional budget cuts and increased revenues.
Things are progressing, everyone's working together, council member Joseph Esposito said.
On Nov. 19, the council held their first reading of a budget that featured more than $396,000 in debt. On Tuesday, it was announced that proposed cuts and added revenue have shrunk the amount of debt to $140,000.
Several members of council and residents pointed out the borough owes a combined $207,000 to its refuse and sewer funds. The council has the option to pay those funds back over time, but those payments, especially to the sewer fund, would have to be forthcoming as the borough has several large sewer projects lined up for 2013.
Esposito estimated that closing that gap with property tax rates alone would result in a roughly 25 percent property tax rate increase. But borough officials have repeatedly stated all options are on the table with regard to revenue-raising and the slashing of expenses.
The main positive piece of information presented Tuesday night was that Wal-Mart provided the borough with a check for $136,000.
Solicitor Ray Hassey said, Wal-Mart recognized the dire straits that the borough was facing and wanted to contribute and be a good neighbor.
Wal-Mart had planned to construct a store on Wyoming Avenue within the borough, but ended the project early this year when it became difficult to make infrastructure adjustments to Wyoming Avenue.