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  • Bonnie Savage

Hellertown Borough Facing Budget Challenges Heading into 2024

During its September 5, 2023, meeting, Hellertown Borough Council released the findings from the Borough’s 2022 financial audit, which was conducted by Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC Certified Public Accountants. Audit results were presented by Deborah Bacon, Principal.

Per the audit’s findings, Bacon stated, “I’m pleased to announce, that once again, we have issued an unmodified opinion on financial statements. There were no findings [and] we have no recommendations.” An unmodified opinion, per Bacon, means that the Borough’s “financial statements are reasonable stated for 2022.”

The audit’s key findings, financially, show that the net position of the Borough decreased $2,064,533 during 2022, “primarily due to an overall increase in expenditures in 2022.” The Borough also issued a General Obligation Note, to finance the new public works building. Closing 2022, the Borough had a total of $1,949,357 in outstanding debt.


Key financial data:

Total revenues decreased $521,000 in 2022, due to a $661,000 decrease in intergovernmental revenue.

  • Public Safety expenditures increased by $749,000.

  • Public Works expenditures increased by $265,000.

  • Culture and Recreation expenditures increased by $329,000.

“So, your overall net position decreased by over $2 million. The notes payable

did increase by $726,000, which is related to the $2 million general obligation note that was issued to finance the Public Works building and to refinance and payoff the 2012 general obligation note.”

Also, per Bacon’s report, the Police Pension Trust Fund also showed a decrease to the fund’s net position of close to $1.3 million. She attributed this to a “sizeable investment loss in 2022”, adding that “we’re seeing this [these types of losses] everywhere”.

Borough Manager, Cathy Hartranft, added “the significant change in the net position, a lot of that was the difference between grant funding spent before the actual reimbursement was actually brought in.”

During the meeting, Council approved the resignation of a public works employee, but when Council President Thomas Rieger moved to the agenda item to authorize the advertising of the replacement of that employee, Council member Andrew Hughes jumped in, stating “just devil’s advocate here, but…I think we have some financial challenges.”

Public Works Manager Barry Yonney, who was in attendance, interrupted and asked to say something, stating, “I need that person. You want this town to look the way it does, I need staff to do it. …I know you’re going to be talking about budgets and I need that person.”

Council member Liz Thompson added, “I think we all agree that we’re going to have to pull some things back. I don’t agree that the public works is the place to do it.” She added, “as much as I am in favor of saving our Borough money, I am not in favor of putting another one of our departments in a situation where there is burnout or resentment or more people leaving.”


After more debate, Council ultimately decided to authorize advertisement of the open public works position.

Related to the 2022 audit completion, during its meeting, Borough Council also laid out the proposed schedule for the 2024 municipal budget public meetings, which can be seen here.



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