Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Madison's proposed 2013 budget, introduced with a 4-2 vote, keeps under state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.
A Madison homeowner with property assessed at the borough average of $718,000, near market value after a recently completed borough-wide revaluation, is expected to see a $39 increase in the municipal portion of their tax bill under a proposed municipal budget introduced Monday night. The municipal portion of the tax bill, estimated to be $2,683 for the average home, is less than a quarter of the overall bill, with most of the total tax bill going toward schools. A portion also goes to Morris County and to open space. Councilman Ben Wolkowitz, the governing body's finance liaison, said the 1.48 percent increase in the tax levy is below the state-mandated 2 percent cap, less than the rate of inflation, and the lowest increase since 2003. …
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Backroom deals and uninformed voting continue to rule in June.
The end of June is the worst time in Trenton. It is rivaled only by the end of a legislative session in January, though the shenanigans that happen in the lame duck session generally don’t involve the spending of billions of the people’s tax dollars. The games that began last week in the State House, and will continue this week, are textbook displays of political partisanship, backroom deals and poor public policy making, not to mention a disregard for people. Take, for instance, last Monday’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing. The committee set a start time of 9:30 a.m. and the room was packed as there were 21 bills on the agenda. Some of those bills were very controversial, and others in various stages of un-readiness: …
Friday, May 11, 2012
Debate over the three no votes on the budget continues.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Republican Councilman Don Links sent the following letter to Madison Patch saying he was "dismayed" by Democratic council candidate and former Councilwoman Astri Baillie's response to a previous letter sent by Links and Councilman Rob Catalanello saying they voted no on the budget because budget goals weren't met, and raising issues with borough spending while Baillie was on the council. Baillie and her running mate Ben Wolkowitz originally questioned why Links, Catalanello and Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto voted no, saying they had ample time to reach consensus. Baillie's response appears in a Madison Eagle story about the exchange, where she is quoted as saying Links' and Catalanello's letter was an "unseemly partisan attack" on …
Thursday, May 3, 2012
"Budget deliberations began about eight months ago. Shouldn’t they have found common ground by now?" Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz ask in a prepared statement.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The following release submitted by Democratic Borough Council candidates Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz questions the no votes on the budget by Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto and Councilmen Don Links and Rob Catalanello. A response by Links and Catalanello was subsequently sent. In a joint press release on the Madison Borough Council budget vote of 3-3, Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz, candidates for Madison Borough Council, state: “We support the Mayor’s action of breaking the tie vote on the budget at the Council meeting of April 23, but we found the no votes of Council members Tsukomoto, Links and Catalanello disturbing. Budget deliberations began about eight months ago. Shouldn’t they have found common ground by now? Moreover, …
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
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, as they did last year when Republican Mayor Mary-Anna Holden cast the deciding vote. 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, …
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Newest freeholder votes no on first budget.
The Morris County Board of Freeholders adopted a 2012 $317 million budget Wednesday that calls for a half-cent property tax increase. The budget sets the tax rate at 21.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. That does not include school and municipal taxes, which are set separately. The freeholders previously shaved one-quarter cent off the open space tax. The budget was passed by a 6-to-1 margin, with the newest freeholder, William “Hank” Lyon of Montville, casting the sole “no” vote. “When I ran last year I said I’d cut taxes,’ he said. The project that concerned him the most is the new county emergency management center under construction in Parsippany. The freeholders' own news release on the budget is as follows: The Morris County …
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
If governing body sees alternatives to removing Ray Codey, they'll discuss them Wednesday, Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto said.
All options—including alternatives, should there be any, to the removal of Borough Administrator Ray Codey—will be considered during a special budget meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening, Madison Borough Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto said. The meeting is being held because the council tabled its planned budget introduction last Monday, along with resolutions finalizing Codey's removal, which was to be incorporated into the 2012 budget as way to save money, saying the budget needs more consideration. The first meeting at which the public had advance notice to comment on the issue of Codey's removal drew so many attendees the meeting was moved to the Presbyterian Church of Madison. More than a dozen residents, including former and …
Monday, February 27, 2012
State aid is up for schools and flat for municipalities, but despite Gov. Christie's generosity, it's still less than before he took office.
Gov. Chris Christie’s budget announcement last week had relatively good news for local officials. Relatively. Aid to schools would rise an average of 9 percent throughout Morris County under the governor’s budget proposal. Every district in Morris would get more state aid in the coming year, with increases ranging from 1 percent in Lincoln Park to 34.7 percent in Mendham Township, which just happens to be Christie’s hometown. The only aid decrease nearby is in Hopatcong, which would lose 6.4 percent of its aid, or $764,000, although there are some even bigger decreases elsewhere in the state: Wildwood Crest, Monmouth Regional and Seaside Park are among those facing double-digit cuts in aid. Any increase in aid is, of course, good news. But…
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
First public draft to be available in November.
Madison has begun the process of putting together the operating budget for 2012. Borough Administrator Ray Codey in an interview at Hartley Dodge Memorial said that the preliminary budget process began Monday with initial meetings among municipal department heads. The process kicked off earlier this year than in the past as the borough is working with a new electronic format designed to make communications among departments more efficient. The early, deliberative process will not be online and is not available for public distribution. Historically, officials haven’t begun the budget process until November. Codey said the first draft of the budget should be available to the public by early November. Municipalities operate under a 2% tax …
Monday, June 27, 2011
The state's fiscal mess is mostly not their fault.
Over the last few weeks, the battle over New Jersey public employee pensions and health benefits has been fierce. Last week, the workers wound up the losers. The issues often are portrayed as simple ones—the unions are bullies who strong-armed state or local employers to get cushy perks for their members, or the governor and Legislature are the bullies stealing hard won benefits and collective bargaining rights from poor workers. It’s actually much more complicated than that. Way back 20 or 30 years ago, there was pretty much no doubt that New Jersey’s public workers on a whole were low-paid compared with people in the private sector. If you went to work in a public job, it was for the benefits, particularly for a good pension. Then came …