Monday, April 5, 2010

Introducing the Budget

At this Tuesday's Town Council Meeting. The Council will introduce the budget prepared by the Mayor and Administration.

The municipal budget makes up 18% of your Denville Property Tax Dollar. The rest of your tax dollar goes to The Regional Board of Education, the Local Board of Education, Morris County Tax and Open Space taxes. While Municipal taxes are a smaller share of the overall tax pie, I still believe in being conservative and cost conscious.

This budget has been a roller coaster ride. Upon first preparation, the Administrator was looking at about $100 increase on the average home. After further work the Administrator and Mayor reduced it to about $70. The council continued to work with the budget during our workshops. Eventually we got the budget down to about $17 for the average household. This was truly a great accomplishment and something I think the whole council supported. However 3 weeks ago, we received word that massive State funding was cut. This immediately erased our hard work and propelled the average cost to about $80 per house. We have continued to work hard and this Tuesday will introduce a budget with a cost increase somewhere in between $50-$60. While I am not thrilled with this, I do realize that many factors, mandates and other things outside our immediate control are affecting this.

In the next several months the Council will partake in workshops aimed at cost savings and efficiencies. Some of these ideas represent new thinking for government. We will look at township vehicles, shared services, new models for town revenue outside of burdening the tax payer and much more. This undoubtedly will help our municipality save in years to come.

When elected to council, someone said to me - "this is not going to be easy". There is no doubt the economy and the buildup of issues this council has inherited are tasking. However, I believe we are now headed in the right direction.