An ordinance which will provide a 3.5% increase in appropriations over the previous year’s final appropriations is slated to be voted on at the April 19th Mayor & Council meeting.
This ordinance allows the municipality to exceed the state-mandated cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2018 from its current of rate of 2.5% – the state cap – to 3.5%. It also allows the governing body to ‘bank’ some or all of that 3.5% in the two years immediately following the current budget year to be used later if it is not needed in the current year “in the interest of promoting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens”.
Without this ordinance, the municipality would be limited to the maximum 2.5% budget increase.
Such an ordinance has been passed every year for over a decade in Roselle Park through ordinances 2248, 2278, 2305, 2331, 2353, 2380, 2402, 2436, 2455, and 2480.
This year, the amount that is to ‘put in the bank’ will be $133,645.96. This will bring the final appropriations for this year’s budget to $467,760.86.
There is support and criticism of such a practice by municipalities. There are those who feel that a municipal government should work within the constraint of a 2.5% increase in appropriations while others see the benefit of preparing for any unforeseen or out-of-the-ordinary situation where that banked cap can be used to address. Currently, there are two upcoming possible issues that will require the attention of the municipality – one is DPW remediation and the other is an issue with the storm sewer on Galloping Hill Road (link). It should be noted that emergency situations – such as natural disasters – are not impacted by the state-mandated limit.
The public hearing and vote by council on Ordinance 2522 is Thursday night at the 7 p.m. Mayor & Council meeting in borough hall located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.
A copy of RP Ordinance 2522 is available below along with copies of previous years’ cap bank ordinances:
Download RP Ordinance 2522
Download RP CAP Bank Ordinances 2008-2017