For the past several months, as a Town Council, we have been working hard to approve a budget from the Mayor and Administration. Going into the public budget process, I firmly believed there were opportunities to be more efficient. The Administrator, Marie Goble did a tremendous job balancing rising costs and efficient management. Just last week, it looked like we were in a good place. I originally did not want a tax increase of more than a few dollars. I thought it was unrealistic to have no tax increase but believed we could keep the burden to a minimum. The final result at the last meeting was our tax burden would be about $17 a year on average Denville household. While a few dollars more than I wanted, I would have voted to pass this budget. Mainly because so many costs of our local government are mandated by State plans and restrictions and out of the municipalities control. Therefore, it is my duty as a councilman to make sure our public safety is protected and we are getting the best value from our services.
However, that all changed on Friday (3/19/10) of last week. The governor announced massive cuts to our municipality. This totals nearly 1/2 million dollars. This Tuesday evening (3/23/10), the council will convene again to determine what to do and we have to be ready to act quickly. We will look to the Mayor and Administration for suggestions on the budget that they will introduce to us. And from there we will do our best to push for better efficiency and new solutions.