During this year’s municipal capital budget process, in hearing requests from various department, the governing body formally decided to adopt a policy of requesting five-year outlooks from all the departments. This year, all departments will be asked to submit their five-year plans by October 1st.
“I think that the five-year plans that will be submitted will really help in getting any kind of debt issues we have under control,” stated Finance Chair and First Ward Councilman Andrew Casais. The plan is to have continuously updated plans with five-year projections of capital purchases that each department foresees as a need; be it vehicles, generators, major repairs, and projects. This is with the understanding that emergency and unexpected purchases may arise. Chief Financial Officer Ken Blum reiterated, “Obviously infrastructure issues, we take them as we go.”
The idea is to have the finance committee review the plans with the CFO which, in turn, will better prepare council in 2015 with forecasting budgeted costs over a span of years. The police department, fire department, first aid squad, borough clerk’s office, engineering, municipal court, finance department, public works, and the library will all be asked to submit such plans.
“It [not] only helps us, it helps them pretty much get what they want and for us to know what they want and need to operate their department,” Councilman Casais stated.
CFO Ken Blum presented the downside of putting off such a plan and continuing with the year-to-year budgeting of capital projects, “If you ignore the infrastructure for a couple of years it’s only going to bite you further down the road.”