Frankford Facing Revenue Shortfall in Upcoming Budget - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Frankford Facing Revenue Shortfall in Upcoming Budget

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Frankford is facing a revenue shortfall of approximately $114,000 for the next fiscal year (Source: WBOC) Frankford is facing a revenue shortfall of approximately $114,000 for the next fiscal year (Source: WBOC)
The JP Court in Frankford will be moving to Georgetown, leading to a loss of $44,000 per year for the town (Source: WBOC) The JP Court in Frankford will be moving to Georgetown, leading to a loss of $44,000 per year for the town (Source: WBOC)
Mountaire started pumping from their new well in January, 2016 (Source: WBOC) Mountaire started pumping from their new well in January, 2016 (Source: WBOC)

FRANKFORD, Del. - In the small town of Frankford, the council is dealing with a "double whammy" of sorts, after two major revenue sources have dried up. The town is facing a revenue shortfall of approximately $115,000 after one state facility is leaving town, and another private company is moving away from municipal water. 

According to Council President Joanne Bacon, the Justice of the Peace Court will be moving to Georgetown, which will lead to a loss of approximately $44,000 per year in rental fees to the General Fund. Meanwhile, Mountaire Farms recently built a well at its feeding mill in town, which started pumping in January. Bacon said that the estimated loss in revenue in water fees due to this change is approximately $70,000. 

"We've lost revenue," said Bacon. "And in order to keep the town running, we need to replace it." 

Michael Tirrell, from Mountaire Farms, said that the decision to build a well was made because there were "significant issues with water quality, water pressure, and water volume" with the town water. He said that the company's filtering system on top of its boiler was being clogged up multiple times a day, due to the water. 

"We had to solve it," he said. "Because it was becoming a business problem for us." 

The boiler system at the feeding mill uses approximately 50 gallons per minute, with a peak demand of 80 to 90 gallons per minute, according to Tirrell. 

As a result of all this revenue shortfall, town leaders told WBOC that an increase in taxes or the town water bills could be possible. 

"That's our last resort..." said Bacon. "But it's on the table." 

In last year's budget, the general fund had a total revenue of $397,210, with a tax rate of $2.50 per hundred. Meanwhile the water budget had a total revenue of $374,600 and a water rate of $8.75 per 1,000 gallons of water. 

Police Department Requests

As town leaders continue to search for a solution to their financial problems, Police Chief Michael Warchol has continued to call for increased manpower. Warchol is not only the chief, but also the only full-time officer. The department also has one part-time officer. 

"I work eight hours a day," he said. "Forty hours a week. And that's just a portion of the time that calls for service come in. Which puts more of a burden on the State Police to come in."

Warchol said that this "dependence" on Delaware State Police could mean a higher response time for non-emergencies. His request for a new officer was initially approved by town council, but the hire was then "frozen" due to financial constraints. 

"It would have helped. Would have given us more coverage on the road. But unfortunately with the financial situation the town's in that's just not in the cards right now."

Bacon said that the revenue shortfall is a major factor in whether the department will get a new officer. 

"We have to have a revenue," she said. "In order to pay our officers." 

Complicating matters, Warchol said that he plans to leave his position in mid-August. At this time, the council plans to hire somebody else to take his place. 

Public Opinion:

The public will have an opportunity to give their input at a budget hearing scheduled for June 23. The council will have to make a quick decision because the fiscal year begins on July 1. 

No tax increases have been proposed, but already town members are pretty split on the idea. 

"I'm not for taxes," said Wayne Ankron, who lives in town. "Believe me, but then again - you have to run the government. As long as they're not wasting it." 

"Hopefully they don't go through with it," said Elizabeth Hernandez. "And they have another option other than to give us taxes." 

If you would like to share your opinion on this possible tax increase, you can email your thoughts to ekoslof@wboc.com.

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