Page 8 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • August 19, 2009 Allendale Municipal budget adopted with 2.5% tax increase by John Koster Allendale’s $8,713,800 municipal-purpose budget was adopted at last week’s council meeting. The 2009 spending plan includes a 2.5 percent increase in local property taxes that cover expenses relating to the police department, roads, administration, and fire and emergency equipment. This budget does not include school or county expenses. Mayor Vince Barra pointed out that when the sale of two-thirds of a 10-acre wetlands site to the Passaic River Valley Coalition has been formalized, the $322,000 from the sale would be put back into surplus, allowing further savings for borough taxpayers. The mayor said the council had received the rejection of both the Northern Highlands Regional High School budget and Allendale’s K-8 budget as a mandate from taxpayers to keep taxes down. Over the past 18 months, he said, five borough positions were eliminated after the employees in those posts retired. The decision not to refill these jobs will save the borough the expenses of salaries and benefits. Allendale, he said, has been able to conduct this year’s budget tightening without eliminating any employees or services, but he predicted next year would be even tougher. “We’ve become more efficient. We’ve become better equipped. I think we’ve reached the end of the road where we’re going to have to start cutting services,” the mayor stated. Barra noted that Allendale had just received word that mandatory state pension contributions for the police had increased 19 percent and state contributions to employee benefits had increased 12.5 percent: money Allendale must find for expenses that cannot be controlled locally. He said the council would begin the next round of budget meetings after Labor Day. “Our job is going to be incredibly difficult,” Mayor Barra said as council members nodded agreement. “We held the line this year, we did not cut services. Next year I think we’re going to have to.” Barra noted that New Jersey at the state level was threatened with an economic catastrophe due to the stock market, and said that Allendale, though run with tight control, could not help but be impacted, especially through state mandates. “There’s no question that things are going to be worse next year than they were this year,” he said. Mayor Barra also reported that the purchase of the Foreit Property on West Crescent Avenue for $2,075,000 would be possible without direct impact on Allendale’s taxpayers due to outside money available for the purchase and construction of affordable housing or senior housing. The land, slightly more than two acres, has been used for the storage of construction equipment, but will now be developed for group housing. Mayor Barra noted that Allendale’s volunteer designation of a quadrant of the Orchard Commons property for affordable housing had made a good impression on state officials and likely contributed to the approval of the Foreit initiative. Advertise in the YOUR COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER 8-19-09 janine GodwinDental4x9(8-19-09) 4 x 9” 201-652-0744