This year’s first two municipal budget workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th and February 27th at 6 p.m.
Roselle Park stands apart from almost every other municipality in the state in that the governing body conducts its budget review in public. Most other towns leave the review up to chief financial officers and perhaps a committee of elected officials.
The workshops allow residents to see what goes into how their tax dollars are budgeted and spent. About 95% of all expenditures are decided in these budget workshops. Attendance for these workshops, at most, usually have about five residents.
During workshops, department heads are called in to explain – in public – the reasons for their annual requests for operating funds. Review sheets are provided to the public so they can follow Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ken Blum as he explains various line items including purchases, salaries, benefits, state mandates, contractual obligations, and revenues (fees, fines, grants, property taxes, state aid, etc.).
The municipal budget is separated into two major sections: operating and capital. Capital budget items include road improvements, heavy equipment purchases, and some expenditures that require a large disbursement of funds which are often financed by bonds or notes.
Historically, around 30¢ to 35¢ of every dollar paid through property taxes go to the municipal government services described above. School taxes – which comprise between 50¢ and 55¢ of every property tax dollar – are not under the control of the municipal government. The remaining amount of property taxes covers county taxes, open space funding, and library appropriations.
Budget workshops will be held at the second-floor conference room in the Roselle Park Municipal Complex located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.
There will be a public comment portion for each workshop to give residents the opportunity to ask questions and provide input.