2011 cannot come any quicker for Mayor and Council. During the election season the residents of Roselle Park were told that Mayor and Council had plans on nearly doubling the debt according to Ken Bloom, Chief Financial Officer in a one on one conversation I had with him in September. Well it didn’t really go away; let us say it was put on the back burner for the new year.
By doing so, the taxpayer won’t see the effects until the first payment comes due in 2012. A couple of citizens reported that they were told during the election period that their tax bills for 2011 would remain relatively stable. Well that would be true only if new spending was put off until 2011.
That being said, it is now reported that Mayor and Council is considering a new building for the Department of Public Works, which according to estimates will cost the taxpayers an additional $2,000,000 to construct. The borough would have to build something if the new senior citizen project is to go up on the site where DPW is currently located.
I recently spoke with an independent engineer who is very familiar with our DPW requirements. In our conversation I brought up the possibility of housing DPW in a new prefabricated steel structure and asked if it could be done with all the whistles and bells for less than $500,000 (a savings to the taxpayers of $1,500,000). His response was most definitely yes. So why are we looking into spending more than is necessary? I guess you have to ask Mayor and Council. By the way it is now estimated that the cost of completing East Grant Avenue will be $1,500,000.
Our Mayor and Council have their hands full and we may squeak by in 2011 but 2012 does not look well so far. In addition to the above, the employee union contracts are up for negotiations, Trenton is looking for a 22% increase in Public Employees Retirement System contribution, and by best estimates healthcare cost for the employees could add another 25% to the bill already being paid. Quite frankly with a deck stacked against the taxpayer, the recession not eliminated, inflation just waiting to explode, it would be wise for all elected officials at all levels to start looking at alternatives and tighten the belt where necessary. If not, our tax bills today will look like chump change three years from now.
– Kevin Murphy