Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Budget Process Begins

This past Saturday, the Denville Town Council began our budget process with the Administration.
We were able to see preliminary budget planning from the Denville Library Board of Trustees, Denville Police Department and Denville Fire Department. This budget session was over 4 hours long. If longer sessions are needed to save costs and provide all Denville residents quality service, so be it.

I was happy to see that all the budgets have been reduced at first glance. As the overall budget process unfolds, we'll be able to better determine if the individual budgets suffice. The Denville Police Budget of materials was a reduction of 4%. We should be proud that Denville has one of the best Police Departments in the area. The department runs very tight and follows police protocol to detail. This protects us from unwarranted lawsuits and other problems.

The Denville Public Library also continues to see outstanding growth while being responsible with their budget. The new library has been getting an enormous amount of use, membership and new materials. As well, they were able to tighten their budget for 2010 at first look.

Our Volunteer Fire Department performs outstandingly. When you think of the amount of money a paid force or coverage from paid EMTs would cost, our department saves us tons. They also are working with a tighter budget this year. However, Valleyview's Firehouse is in bad need of a new ambulance. This would not be something that would hit us as taxpayers in one single year but instead would be bonded over time to equally fund the usage over the years. Chief Crothers presenting a compelling argument to move forward with a new ambulance and most of the council agreed. Even with this need, the overall budget for our Volunteer Fire Department shrunk and will have less impact on us as taxpayers while still providing top service.

While all these budget were tightened, we are still very early in the process. And the state will undoubtedly cut more municipal funding but hopefully not institute any more unfunded mandates. Some of our budgets may need further reductions and difficult decisions will need to be made.

I hope you can join us at further budget workshops. Next on the list - Department of Public Works and Engineering.