For the second year in a row, the legally required User-Friendly Budget (UFB) has been released to provide comprehensive information on what goes into the municipality’s budget. The 14-page document provides a summary of 12 major sections of the municipal budget. Copies of both UFBs are available below to download or print in order to better follow along with the article. The Microsoft Excel versions of both budgets are available at the end of the article.
A comparison between 2015’s and this year’s UFBs shows that the valuation of the borough increased from $283,829,128 to $1,054,177,601. This is due to the townwide revaluation conducted last year. The tax rate proportionally decreased from $12.907 to $3.811 in line with the average household being valued at $253,000. The previously value of an average house in Roselle Park was $65,000.
Sheet UFB-2 of the two years shows that last year’s anticipated revenue of $7,666,169.52 was off by about $1 million dollars since 2016’s UFB-2 shows the actual total realized revenue was $18,645,804.70. This year’s anticipated revenue is even less than 2015’s realized amount at $18,018,108.79 but with the anticipated construction on Westfield Avenue it is safe to presume that the Uniform Construction Code Fees will be more than the budgeted $65,000. Those fees have been more than double what has been budgeted over the last few years.
The total appropriations have only increased by about $350,000 from last year as shown in sheet UFB-3. The largest increase was line item 21 which is labeled Land Use Administration. It went from $45,180 to $131,227.
Sheet UFB-4 shows that the Recycling Tonnage Grant decreased by almost $1,800. These are revenues that should not automatically be expected in the same amount on a regular annual basis.
UFB-5 shows that vacant land increased by two (2) parcels while residential properties decreased from 3,312 to 3,308. Residential parcels make up about 92% of all properties in the borough. Commercial properties increased by three (3) lots for 183 properties and these constitute 5% of all land in Roselle Park. Totaling land listed as commercial, industrial, apartments, railroad, and business personal property make up 7.5% of all land in the borough. The number of public property parcels also increased to 66 – eight (8) more than were listed in 2015. In 2015, the amount paid out to tax appeals was cut in half from $150,897.84 to $74,742.43.
UFB-6 reveals that there are currently no Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) or other tax abatement programs in Roselle Park.
UFB-7 has important information on the number of personnel (full-time and part-time) in the various departments throughout the municipality. In 2016, two (2) full-time Union employees were added to the payroll – presumably the laborers for the Department of Public Works (DPW) – while one (1) non-Union part-time employee was removed from the rolls. The total personnel cost increased by $203,193.16 (around 2.7%) while the base pay for all employees increased $113,094.30 or 2.1%. Overtime and other compensation went up by over 13% – an increase of $58,498.86. Pension decreased by about $7,000. Health benefits increased by $30,000 (2.6%) and other benefits went up by $10,000 (4.3%). As with all service-related organizations, the total cost for salaries and benefits accounts for 62.3% of the municipal budget.
UFB-8 shows that the number of employees covered by the municipality’s health insurance went up from 97 to 113 and the cost increased 11% to $1,770,841.86.
UFB-9 details the accumulated personal days which increased more than six-fold from 5,481.64 to 34,742.39. The compensation went up less than $30,000. The increase was due to the retirement of Karen Intile and others who had their accumulated days compensated at the time of retirement. It should be noted that of the seven (7) departments, three (3) of their compensation values are due to municipal law while four (4) of them are a resulted of negotiated contracts.
The total outstanding debt in sheet UFB-10 shows an increase of around $640,000. This debt was less, percentage wise, than last year at 9.98% – a decrease of 1.3%.
UFB-11 shows that the services provided by the Westfield Board Of Health cost taxpayers $4,000 less this year as compared to last year.
The last page of the User-Friendly Budget gives figures at the original (pre-revaluation) rate and the current rate. This shows a comparable review of what last year’s tax impact using the new revaluation formula.
Download 2015 User-Friendly Budget