Council President Skariah Mayor Kramer
Millbourne Pennsylvania, is one of our smaller but gutsier LVT towns. It is strategically placed just outside Philadelphia city limits in Delaware County PA, along a vital road and commuter rail corridor. This article sets up a podcast (below) describing the town's struggles of being in the grips of one large vacant lot, an intransigent owner, and its hopes for the future.
Millbourne's Future Vision
The Borough's trip from insolvency to a solid foundational future, happened to involve the best and worst of tax policy: adopting LVT and dramatically reducing the tax burden on citizens, plus the decision of Philadelphia to adopt a local sales tax on cigarettes. This is not the corner to debate the wisdom of cigarettes or not, but canny business people realize that Millbourne is only a subway stop or indeed a short walk away from the city itself. Empty storefronts now boast gleaming tobacconists.
Featured in the podcast is Mayor Tom Kramer, and Council President Justin Skariah. Kramer is also a board member of the Center for the Study of Economics. UrbanTools is happy to have played a role in the town's turnaround.
"Under Kramer, the borough finally got rid of its financially distressed status in 2014 and has cut spending by bidding out insurance, installing LED street lighting, setting up a reserve fund, and creating a land-value tax that’s helped reduce property taxes.
“We’ve definitely got our books in order in comparison to when I moved here,” said Kramer. “We’ve made an awful lot of progress in that regard.”But Kramer says things are still tenuous for the borough since it doesn’t have the tax base that it once had.The big issue is that the old Sears property, which takes up almost a third of Millbourne’s land, has never been redeveloped."
The podcast fleshes out the story of Millbourne's journey from municipal insolvency to growing small community.