News Brief…

Information provided by Suburban Realtors Alliance

General News

Analysis: 1 in 4 must use half their pay for housing costs
According to an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing, more than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities. The number of such households has jumped 26 percent to 11.25 million since 2007. Using data from the Labor Department and Zillow, the analysis points out that rental prices have surged at nearly twice the pace of average hourly wages since 2010. The crisis reflects one of the shortcomings of the recovery from the Great Recession: Income has failed to match rent increases. At the same time, construction has failed to keep pace with demand from renters. “It means making really difficult trade-offs,” said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. “There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries.” Click here for more.
Source: Times Herald; 5/1/2015

Philadelphia Business Tax and License Requirements
In light of recent media reports regarding the alleged failure of Realtors to comply with the City of Philadelphia’s complex system of business tax and license requirements, the Suburban REALTORS Alliance has produced an issue brief titled “Philadelphia Business License and Tax Requirements.”The document is meant to provide an introductory resource for REALTORS who are interested in learning more about Philadelphia’s requirements for individuals and organizations conducting business within its borders.

Bucks County

Centennial budget plan avoids projected catastrophe
Before he was elected to the Centennial School Board four years ago, Steve Adams would sit in the audience and listen to the dire financial forecasts. “This year was supposed to be Armageddon,” Adams said. “This was D-Day. This was when we fell below the line, when we lost all of our general fund.” The catastrophe, however, did not materialize. Adams contends that “tough choices” made by the current board – “that they weren’t making in years prior” – has helped the district avoid the disastrous forecast. Centennial approved a proposed budget of $106.8 million with a 3.7 percent tax increase that will not cut into programs. If approved, the 3.7 percent increase would amount to an increase of $121 to the total tax bill of a home assessed at the district average of $26,400. The millage rate would increase to 126.76 mills, with a mill equal to a tax of $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. Adams called the tax increase “reasonable” and said the district’s tax rate is the second lowest in Bucks County. The budget will be finalized by the end of June.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 5/4/2015

Warrington to consider ordinances to create water and sewer districts
At their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., the Warrington Township Board of Supervisors will consider two ordinances providing public water and sewer service to an area of the township including Anna Street and Honora Street. The proposed ordinances create the Anna/Honora Sanitary Sewer District and the Anna/Honora Water District and list the tax parcels and tapping fees for each district. A complete copy of the ordinances is available for review at the Warrington Township Building, 852 Easton Rd., Warrington, PA during normal business hours. Visit for the most up-to-date meeting information.
Source: The Intelligencer; 5/4/2015

Neshaminy to use reserves for balanced budget
The Neshaminy school board recently voted to approve a proposed final budget for 2015-16 that includes using about $8 million in reserves to help balance a $175 million budget. The district has about $17 million in reserves that it can use to help cover expenses, said business administrator Barbara Markowitz. According to district officials, the spending plan does not include a tax increase. The final adoption of the budget is scheduled for June 16. In the meantime, administrators will continue to look for ways to trim expenses, said Superintendent Robert Copeland.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 5/5/2015

New homes planned for New Britain Township
New Britain Township supervisors approved the development of 59 twin homes and townhomes on a 20-acre lot off Schoolhouse Road. An adjacent 20-acres will be donated to the township for park use by the owner of the property, Quad Graphics. The homes will be built by W.B Homes of North Wales. The developer still must present a land development plan to the supervisors for approval before construction can begin. Zoning on the tract has already been changed from industrial to rural residential. Each residence will have a small plot to the rear of the home, but most of the 10 acres of open land will be held and maintained by a homeowners’ association. If all approvals are granted, groundbreaking for the three-bedroom units could take place next spring. Pricing is expected to be in the mid-$300,000s.
Source: The Intelligencer; 5/5/2015