Page 12 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • December 16, 2009 Midland Park ‘Tis the season Nearly 500 people attended Midland Park’s recent tree lighting ceremony. Committee (continued from page 4) to join the committee. The mayor’s action followed a discussion of the 2010 budget at the last council work session and at a special meeting of the council on Dec. 8 which was dedicated to a further discussion of next year’s budget. At the work session, the prospect of the need to raise taxes was discussed. During that discussion, Bivona was asked to give a report about his review of the financial status of the borough. He gave a bleak assessment of that financial condition and urged the governing body to act now to address it rather than wait until the beginning of the year. “Time is of the essence, and not addressing it now will only make the problem more difficult,” Bivona told the council, adding that after his cursory review he did not see how to bridge the budget gap for next year without major cuts in spending, or a tax increase. He explained that the problem they face with the budget is that over the last three years the borough’s surplus has been dwindling while the debt load has been growing, and he said there has to be some structural changes made involving the tax levy and cost cuts at a magnitude the borough has not seen before. Bivona explained that the surplus has declined over that time to a “precarious condition” and he said, “That’s what has happened over the past three years. So weaning ourselves off the use of surplus is the problem and there is no easy fix but to cut back expenses and raise taxes.” DeNicola agreed at that work session that the council needed a dedicated meeting on the budget, but she insisted that the first goal of that meeting should be to cut the budget with no tax increase. Bivona emphasized, “That can’t happen,” and he explained that if the tax rate was held to a zero increase there would have to be a $1.8 million cut in expenses. Councilman Steve Marcus also pointed out at that work session that this and prior councils have spent the surplus and given money back to the taxpayers by not raising tax rates, and he said he has no problem raising rates higher than the borough has experienced in the past. “To think we’re going to fund the budget with no meaningful tax increase is folly,” he said. “There’s nothing left but head count and we won’t find $1.8 million with head count cuts without a meaningful tax increase.” Bivona added, “The structural problem created by not raising taxes for a number of years will not be fixed overnight.” Last week, after the special meeting of the council on the budget, Bivona said some progress was made and the council came to the consensus at that meeting that they will not continue to implement temporary layoffs in 2010. 30 minutes of your time can save a life. Each year more than four million people ~ accident victims, patients undergoing surgery, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases ~ are in need of a blood transfusion. Community Blood Services 970 Linwood Avenue, West Paramus, NJ 07652 It’s About Life! Your can make a difference in someone’s life by spending just 30 minutes donating blood. Call us today. Check our website: 201-444-3900