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Mayor Breaks Tie to Pass Budget

Home assessed at borough average would see $66 hike in municipal portion of property tax bill.

Democratic Mayor Bob Conley on Monday cast his first tie-breaking vote as mayor to pass Madison's 2012 budget after Borough Council members voted 3-3 on the spending plan.

Republicans Dr. Vincent Esposito and Robert Landrigan and Democrat Carmela Vitale voted in favor of the budget.

Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto and councilmen Robert Catalanello and Don Links, all Republicans, voted against the budget, .

Before voting, Tsukamoto said the borough hasn't done enough to find recurring revenue sources or cost-saving measures. Catalanello said it's shocking there isn't more than the $800,000 in budgeted surplus given projected one-time shots of revenue, including $800,000 in construction fees and $250,000 from the planned sale of a former borough recreation building at 10 Maple Ave.

After the deadlock vote on the budget, Conley broke the tie, voting "Yes," passing the budget and drawing applause from residents who attended the meeting Monday night at .

Conley said the budget process was "far from perfect" and one of the "steepest roller coaster budget seasons I've ever seen in my time here."

But he said the budget, which would raise the municipal portion of the property tax bill by $66.15 to $2,727 for a home assessed at the borough average of $409,433, was a very strong budget. It calls for increasing the municipal tax levy by 2 percent to $13,853,330, within the state-mandated cap. It was introduced unanimously March 26.

"We don't want to burden future councils and future residents by decisions made today and I don't think this budget does that," Conley said.

Tsukamoto there are many positive aspects to the budget, such as staying within the 2 percent cap, not reducing services and continuing to support organizations.

But she said she believe there's the possibility of a structural deficit and "we are again delaying the pain to the following year."

Borough Administrator Ray Codey said the budget includes to no water rate or electric rate increases, and should maintain Madison's AAA bond rating.

"This is a good budget," he said prior to the vote. "It deserves your support. It was introduced unanimously. and we would hope that the members wo;uld reconsider their positions and vote to support this budget in the best interests of this community."

A proposal to rezone borough land with a former recreation building at 10 Maple Ave. so it can be used as a single-family home was introduced by the Borough Council during the meeting. Borough Administrator Ray Codey said the property could be auctioned off sometime after Labor Day.

Larry Bruce April 24, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I'm not. What's offensive is your phony name.
jerry stevenson April 24, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The "Budget in Brief" is posted on Rosenet in the finance section under borough government. While the total budget is only going up by 2% the projected tax levy on a home assessed at $409000 is $11380. We're staring to talk serious money. I hopethe Finance Officer Robert Kalufet has some reserves to help offset increases if the police arbitration on salaries is settled this year. There is also the issue of a higher volume of tax appeals. There is no fluff in this budget to offset unanticipated expenses which is why some council members were looking for additional revenues and/or additional cuts.
Steve Wells April 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Just more political posturing from 3 of the former Madison 4. But what's amazing is that Tsukamoto and Catalanello WERE spearheading the budget planning, and up until their misguided ambush of Codey, HAD the majority to ram through whatever they wanted. Nothing was stopping them. Now they complain that the budget isn't fiscally responsible enough. Well, er, who's to blame for THAT other than them? Now it appears that Landrigan has defected their ranks to the more reasonable center. This was a man (unlike the other 3) who looked and sounded shell-shocked when he realized he, as the newcomer, had been led into a blind alley by his Repub colleagues in L'Affaire Codey. Nothing I've heard about Landrigan suggests he came in with an agenda. Conversely, nothing I've heard regarding Tsukamoto and Catalanello SINCE L'Affaire Codey has contained anything except people's eagerness to be able to vote them out of office. And this latest is just further proof of their disingenuousness.
Barry Luce April 26, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I guess the Democrats don't want anyone but their own people heard on any political issue in Madison, otherwise they wouldn't have requested that ALL my posts be removed.

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