April 22, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 5
Town budget up 1.01%; taxes to increase 2.7%
Midland Park’s municipal budget for 2009 maintains services at their current levels, and even provides slight increases, while dealing with a substantial drop in revenues. The total budget of $9,341,065 is up $93,705, an increase of 1.01 percent. The public hearing is scheduled for the mayor and council’s May 14 meeting. The proposed budget includes an additional $28,000 for the purchase of a police vehicle which was added at the time of introduction. Councilman Patrick “Bud” O’Hagan argued successfully that including the amount in this year’s budget would allow more flexibility and better position the borough in future years relative to the state-imposed cap. “Anytime we go below the 2 ½ percent cap, it hurts the borough down the road. We get hurt by being too austere,” he said. O’Hagan explained that the funds would not have to be spent until the end of the year, if at all, depending on the economy and the condition of the cars presently on the road. Keeping the money in the budget, he said, maintains a higher base which may be needed the following year for salary negotiations or other increases in fixed costs. “We get penalized in the future for being too thrifty,” commented Councilman Nick Papapietro. Despite a reduction of $177,288 in state aid since 2007 and a reduction in assessed value of $535,291, 2009’s net increase in taxes was kept to $167,258 or 2.7 percent, borough officials point out. A home assessed at $300,000, the borough’s average, will see an increase in its tax bill for municipal purposes only, of $60 or 2.7 percent. School and county taxes are not included. The budget proposal reflects major increases in several areas, including $37,000 for the NW Bergen Sewer Authority, $10,000 for gasoline and $36,000 for employee pensions. Other anticipated increases include, garbage disposal, grass recycling and salaries. Police employees, including 14 full-time police officers, are receiving a contractual raise of 3.75 percent, the final year of a five-year negotiated contract. Other borough employees, including 14 full-time municipal staffers and part-time crossing guards, matrons, special officers, seasonal workers, and clerical employees, will receive a 3 percent salary increase effective April 1, 2009 (2.24 percent effectively). The Midland Park Memorial Library has been funded the same as 2008 at $455,000 ($16,000 above the statutory requirement). To compensate for the decrease in revenues, including a $250,000 reduction in interest income, and the increase in projected expenditures, the borough is applying an additional $75,000 from its surplus account for a total of $1,425,000 in surplus funds. It also projects increases of $45,000 in delinquent tax receipts, $33,900 in cable TV fees, $20,000 in fees and permits and $15,000 in cell tower fees. Capital Improvement Funds have been maintained at $525,000 in 2009 for “pay-as-you-go” purchases. Vehicles and equipment for fire, police, public works, and ambulance corps, road paving, facility and infrastructure maintenance are adequately provided for in this budget as well, officials said. The borough also intends to continue pursuing grants for capital projects and other expenditures and has applied for stimulus money to abandon the Glen Avenue sewer (continued on page 24)
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