Page 8 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • March 25, 2009 Franklin Lakes Borough council delays introduction of 2009 budget by Frank J. McMahon The Franklin Lakes Council has decided to delay the introduction of the borough’s 2009 municipal budget while it continues to look for more ways to reduce the spending plan and any resulting tax increase it may require. “We have set another special meeting for next Tuesday, March 24 at 7 p.m.,” Mayor Maura DeNicola said after the council met for several hours last week in closed session to debate what cuts might be necessary to avoid a major increase in property taxes. “There will be continued discussion and decisions to further cut the budget,” she added. The mayor and council met for 90 minutes prior to the regular public meeting, hoping to come to some consensus on what cuts, including personnel reductions, might have to be made to reduce the budget. They met again in closed session for several hours after the public meeting and continued the discussion but, in the end, the council could not come to an agreement to introduce the budget and approve a resolution to apply to the Local Finance Board of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for a waiver from the state’s mandated four percent cap on the borough’s tax levy increase. Prior to the meeting DeNicola had advised the council that she could not support the draft of the 2009 budget, which showed what she described as an “unprecedented” 10 percent tax increase, even with the use of a $363,123 pension deferral. “I ask every council member to be open to greater reductions and personnel layoffs to further reduce this budget,” DeNicola told the council. “We know this is an extremely difficult situation that demands extraordinary time and attention. We face a perfect storm of lower state aid, low interest rates, sharply decreasing revenues from building and new taxation, and we need to further reduce operational reliance on the shrinking surplus. Like corporate America, we are streamlining a budget that has grown every year for more than a decade with the ‘good times.’ These are now the ‘bad times,’ and we must make some hard decisions.” DeNicola continued, “We represent the taxpayers of Franklin Lakes, who are already dealing with serious economic problems in their personal and professional lives. Their expectation is that we do everything possible to produce a conservative budget with responsible taxation while keeping Franklin Lakes safe. Taxpayers will not accept a budget that does not reflect a stronger stance in minimizing government overhead.” DeNicola emphasized that Franklin Lakes is a small town and she said the draft 2009 budget includes minimal changes in personnel or reduction of hours. “We must make greater cuts,” DeNicola said, explaining that the postponement of the budget’s introduction is a “fair tradeoff” in committing to do everything possible to reduce the budget. The state has extended the deadline for the introduction of all municipal budgets from March 10 to March 31, but the council does not have a regularly scheduled meeting before that date, which would necessitate a special meeting of the governing body. In a previous discussion about the budget in February, Councilman Steve Marcus, chairman of the borough council’s Administration Committee, which includes finance and personnel issues, advised that an initial review of this year’s budget indicated that the borough could be $969,000 over last year’s $15 million budget. In early March, he gave an overview of the budget shortfall, explaining that the tax levy for that budget was $1.5 million over the $9.4 million maximum tax levy allowed by this year’s cap. He explained at that time that part of that excess was caused by a $500,000 decrease the amount of surplus that would be used to reduce the budget, as recommended by the borough’s auditor in order to get away from the use of surplus to reduce the borough’s budgets, and it was also caused by a reduction in the amount budgeted in 2009 for interest revenue which had to be decreased from $450,000 to $20,000 and the amount budgeted for construction fee revenue which had to be decreased from $327,000 to $200,000. Since then, the council has discussed various ways to reduce the budget and the resulting tax levy including one day-a-month furloughs for non-contracted employees and the possibility of raising construction fees to increase revenue. ������������������ ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������� The Friends of the Franklin Lakes Library will host Monica Seles at its annual author luncheon and special auction. This event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 22 at Indian Trail Club from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The former tennis champion will speak about her new book, “Getting a Grip: On My Mind, My Body, My Self,” in which she shares her success on the tennis circuit and candidly talks about her journey in finding peace and hap- Monica Seles to speak at luncheon piness in her life. Tickets to the luncheon are $75 and include a signed copy of Seles’ book. The event will be held at the Indian Trail Club located at 830 Franklin Lakes Road in Franklin Lakes. To purchase tickets, call (201) 445-0726. Reservation forms can be downloaded at All proceeds go directly to the Franklin Lakes Library. �������������������� FREE 2009 ����������������������������� ���������������������������� �������������������������������� ������������������������������ ��������������������������������� SAT Junioritis? Lynn’s Pet Care Going on vacation? Away for the weekend? Work long hours away from home? We’ll care for your pets when you can’t. Please call 201-493-8442 201-394-3156 Spring Craft Show A Show of 100 Quality Crafters & Artisans For children ages 4-10 10am to 5pm PARAMUS HIGH SCHOOL th SUNDAY, MARCH 29 Century Rd, Paramus Saturday, April 18 • 2-4:30pm • Art Sampler • Camps • Pool Games • Sports • Caricatures • Karate Demonstration • Giveaways and more! Staff Contact: Tia Sargent 201-444-5600, ext. 313 Ridgewood YMCA Photography, Woodworkers, Florals, Soft Sculpture, Jewelry, Fiber, Hand Made Vintage Apparel, Garden Items, Folk Art, Hand Painted Furniture, Ceramics, Country Decor, Custom Photo Mats, Primitives, Quilts, Monogramming, Silk Dyed Items, Oak Trunks, Country Fabric Baskets, Soaps, Candles, American Doll Clothing & Much More. Admission $3.00 Strollers Allowed ® Show by P.J.’s Promotions 201-666-1340 Dir: This free event is open to all area residents.