Mahwah January 21, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 3 Township officials bracing for tough budget year by Frank J. McMahon Mahwah’s mayor, business administrator, and township council are all expecting a tough budget year in 2009 because of the difficult economy and the expected reduction in tax revenues and state aid. “I want to assure everyone that the administration is working very hard on the budget,” Mayor Richard Martel said at a recent public meeting of the township council. He explained that he has had many meetings with the township’s finance officer and the business administrator. “We will go through it one more time this Saturday and then the council will receive the document and you will have ample opportunity to review it and make additional cuts,” Martel told the council. “If you can find places which can sustain additional cuts, I will support them.” The budget will be reviewed by the council over a period of weeks as they meet with department heads. A summary of the budget will be released to the public after it is introduced by the council. Business Administrator Brian Campion advised that, under state law, a municipal budget must be introduced by Feb. 10 and adopted by March 20, unless those deadlines are delayed until the state issues its state aid numbers. Campion said he and the mayor have met with all department heads in an effort to prevent any increase in the operating budget. “We are looking to keep all operating expenses flat or reduced and we are reducing the work force by attrition,” Campion said. “The capital budget is usually $1-$2 million, and this year it will be well under $1 million if there is a capital budget at all,” Campion said. The budget for the township’s school district also was discussed at the last council meeting when Mike DeLuca, a Parsons Court resident, asked Councilman Robert Hermansen, who is the liaison between the council and the school board, to stress to the school board the importance of maintaining a budget as close to even as possible. He acknowledged that the township is trying to get as viable a budget as possible, but he said the school budget is the primary problem. “I know you have no control over (the school budget), but it should be stressed,” DeLuca said. Hermansen told DeLuca the township and the school district are operating under very tight constraints, and the state has ForaNewer & Socialon the taxPlayers both budset four percent cap Bridge levies of gets. “They (the school trustees) are going to try and stay within the four percent cap,” Hermansen said, “but they will probably go right up to that four percent to cover the increases in teacher salary and medical insurance costs.” Hermansen explained to DeLuca that all budget items must now be within the cap, even though costs, such as medical insurance, may be going up as much as six percent. But he added, “I’ll be shocked if they come in with a two or a two-and-one-half percent increase. I expect they will go right up to the four percent so you can expect that four percent increase.” Mahwah’s current property tax rate is just under $1.98 per $100 of assessed valuation, and $1.21 of that total tax rate is for the school district tax. The county requires a 29 cent tax, the county open space tax is two cents, the municipal open space tax is one cent, and the township’s municipal property tax rate is 45 cents. When that tax rate was set by the Bergen County Board of Taxation, it represented a 7.6 cent increase in the township’s total property tax rate and resulted in an annual property tax of $7,042 for a residential taxpayer whose property had the township’s average assessed value of $356,408. That represented an increase of about 271, or almost $23 a month in that property owner’s annual property taxes. FREE BRIDGE LESSONS FOR 5TH - 12TH GRADERS Join the  Have fun and meet other junior players while playing the greatest card game. 8 lessons begin Wednesday, January 28, 3:15-4:45 pm Sign-up starts January 5th. 100 Ridge Road • Mahwah, NJ 07430 • 201-529-7323, ext. 5 GRAND OPENING ��������������� ������������ ���������������������������� Mahwah Public Library Eat in or Take out (Must bring in this ad) 25 N. 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