On Monday, May 2nd Mayor and Council met to discuss municipal finances for the final time prior to the public hearing on the 2011 Municipal Budget. The agenda was light and discussion revolved mainly around a recommendation brought forward by Councilwoman Tanya Torres.
During the meeting, the Councilwoman stated that she had spoken to members of the Roselle Park Recreation (Rec) Committee who were concerned that the budget cut they had originally sustained would make it difficult for them to operate in 2011, and nearly impossible in 2012. “They were concerned that the cut was too severe,” the Councilwoman Torres explained. She continued, “It was 40%, most departments took 10-20%, and I do agree that with 40% it would be very difficult for them to function.”
As the governing body’s liaison to the Recreation Department, Councilwoman Torres indicated that the Rec. committee currently has approximately $5600 in inactive accounts which they have agreed to transfer into use. “By doing that they still stand $5100 short of last year’s budget with the cut,” the Councilwoman clarified. She went on to suggest that the Council agree to add $5000 back into the Rec. committee line-item in order to bring them up to nearly identical operating levels as last year.
The Council began discussion on the issue, starting with Councilman Michael Yakubov who looked to clarify that the Rec. committee would still be taking a $5700 cut in the event Council were to re-appropriate $5000. Councilman-at-Large Hokanson offered his sentiments stating, “I support it… this,” referring to the recreation program, “is something that attracts young couples to Roselle Park.”
At this point, Borough Clerk Doreen Cali noted to the Council, “Normally, the special education children’s team applies for a grant. They didn’t apply this year.” Although Council was visibly discouraged by this news both Councilman Yakubov and Dinardo expressed their inclination to re-appropriate the $5000. Councilman Marc Caswell expressed his feelings, “I’m big on anything that goes to the kids. My only concern is that when you hear things like you’re not applying for grants…you start to have the antenna go up.” Concluding his comments, Councilman Caswell expressed that he would not oppose this measure.
The discussion ended with a unanimous consensus of the members present to advise the Borough’s CFO to re-appropriate $5000 into the 2011 Municipal Budget toward the Recreation Committee’s line item. This measure will be formally acted upon by the Council during the vote on the 2011 Municipal Budget which will occur Thursday, May 5th at the regular meeting of Mayor and Council. Pending approval of this re-appropriation, the 2011 budget reflects an average tax increase to a house assessed at $65,000 of $99.47.