March 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 3 Franklin Lakes Borough council mulls tax levy waiver by Frank J. McMahon The Franklin Lakes Mayor and Council met in a special session last week to discuss the shortfall in the borough’s 2009 budget and the potential need to request a waiver from the state’s cap on any increase in the $8.6 million municipal tax levy from last year. Steve Marcus, chairman of the council’s Administration Committee, which includes finance and personnel, gave an overview of the budget shortfall explaining that the 2009 budget was $1.5 million over the $9.4 million maximum tax levy allowed by this year’s tax levy cap. He explained that part of that excess was caused by decreasing the amount of surplus that would be used to reduce the budget by $500,000, as recommended by the borough’s auditor, in order to get away from the use of surplus to reduce the borough’s budgets. Marcus emphasized that these lower projected revenues amount to two-thirds of the $1.5 tax levy cap excess. Franklin Lakes Borough Administrator Greg Hart emphasized that the budget excess over the tax levy cap was not caused by additional operating expenses, which have remained flat in this year’s budget. He described, however, several potential reductions in the budget that could be considered, including the elimination of salary increases for non-contracted employees, deleting the expense for attending the New Jersey League of Municipalities convention, eliminating the funding for recording secretaries, eliminating the borough’s planned document imaging project, deleting the upgrade of the borough’s master plan from the operating budget and paying for the preparation of the master plan over a five year period, dropping plans for buying computers, changing the prescription plan for non-contracted employees, deleting funds to provide radios for the police department’s new motorcycle, eliminating the cost of attending the fireman’s convention, and eliminating the budget for the town fair. According to Hart, those reductions could save about $656,000, which would leave an excess over the tax levy cap of $870,000, which could then be reduced by $363,000 by deferring payments to the police and employee pension plans thus leaving a shortfall of about $507,000. Marcus explained that the borough could then request a tax levy cap waiver request for that amount from the Local Finance Board of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which would increase the tax levy this year to $9.9 million. Borough Auditor Frank DiMaria told the council that the rationale for the request for that waiver would be the need to reduce the use of the town’s surplus for budget purposes, and the fact that there has been a significant reduction in the interest and construction fee revenues this year. DiMaria explained that if the use of surplus funds is not reduced, a bigger problem would be created in future years because the miscellaneous revenues the borough usually receives to rebuild that surplus amount are not expected in the near future. He also explained that the amount budgeted in 2009 for interest revenue had to be decreased from $450,000 to $20,000 and the amount budgeted for construction fee revenue had to be decreased from $327,000 to $200,000. The council did not make a commitment to file for the (continued on page 18) Patricia’s Coiffures PERMS • COLORING SHAMPOO & SET CUTTING & BLOW DRYING Like the idea and philosophy behind acupuncture but are scared of needles? Why not try Tuina Massage. Let us Gift Certificates help you relax, replenish, and rejuvenate. Available ��������������������������������������������� ���������������� ACKERMAN’S ������������������������������� Come on in and get your 20% off with this coupon! Music ������������ ��������������������������� Tues, Wed & Thurs 8 Godwin Plaza • 644 Godwin Ave.• Midland Park Tuesday-Saturday 9:00-4:30: Open Thursday Evenings WELLNESS CENTER ������������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������ A Neighborhood Massage Therapy Center 201-652-9608 ���������������������� ����������������������������������������������������� ree f ���������������������� �������������������������������