Editor's Notebook: March 28 Council Meeting
Borough spending is down, while taxes will go up by $78 for the year on a home assessed at $392,000, the borough's new average. According to Borough Auditor Mark Bednarz, of the CPA firm Donahue, Giranda & Doria, anticipated revenue is down by $200,000, due in part to the recent property revaluation and a reduction in interested earned on the borough's surplus.
The revaluation, which increased the average home assessed value from $300,000 to $392,000, resulted in an overall $2.1 million reduction in property values. As a result, the costs are spread over a smaller base. In addition, the revaluation prompted more tax appeals and a reduction in the amount of delinquent taxes owed.
Line item increases include $70,000 for capital improvements, $56,000 for employee benefits, $37,000 for police pensions, and $21,000 increases in salary and wages at the rec department, for a possible full-time rec director position.
Decreased line items include $67,000 in sewer fees, $57,000 in police salaries, $23,000 in solid waste and recycling fees, and $15,000 for employee pensions.
Library funding also impacts the budget as the state-mandated library contribution was reduced by more than $20,000, however, the borough has kept funding at the same level.
Bednarz also praised the financial health of the borough, noting that compared to other municipalities, Midland Park is tip-top shape. Between a cash surplus and minimal debt-service, he said, "You have been able to weather the economic downturn without layoffs or reduction in services."
The council unanimously passed two ordinances on final reading:
- 02-13 to appropriate $316,255 for capital projects, and
- 03-13 to appropriate $97,500 for the future purchase of vehicles.
Three new ordinances were introduced at the meeting:
- 04-13 to establish salary and wages for borough officers and employees.
- 05-13 to provide for he defense and indemnification of borough employees, in accordance with NJSA 59:10-4
- 06-13 to amend fees and charges for fence permits, and miscellaneous structures including sheds, driveways, temporary signs and Portable On Demand Storage Units (PODS).
Replays of the meeting are available on the Midland Park Press's Ustream Channel.