West Caldwell Adopts $11.4 Million Municipal Budget
Introduces Ordinances for Improvements to Library, Town Fields, and Technology Upgrades
With little fanfare, West Caldwell adopted its 2011 budget, with $11.4 Million for Municipal and $797 thousand for the separate library levy.
The budget has not varied much since its introduction. However, Councilman Stan Hladik, the Finance Committee Chairperson, did say the estimated tax rate of $2.19 per $100 of assessed property value is a slight drop from the original estimate of $2.28.
While there was no public comment on the budget at Tuesday night's Council meeting, Hladik did say he has heard from residents about the reason for a 2.12% budget increase over 2010.
"I have gotten feedback as to why taxes are going up," Hladik stated, especially when the town operates efficiently by utilizing shared service agreements.
Hladik did point out the 2011 budget has a surplus, and the town could have a o% increase if a surplus was not built in. "We are taking the increase and being conservative. There are many factors in which we might need the surplus such as inflation and tax appeals," Hladik noted.
AFter the budget was adopted, the Council moved on to introducing several ordinances:
- An amended ordinance authorizing improvements to various fields for the recreation deparment and to permit the demolition of unsafe structures. A sum of $240 thousand is appropriated for this ordinance with a public hearing on September 6.
- An ordinance authorizing improvements to the West Caldwell Public Library in the amount of $17.5 thousand with a public hearing on September 20.
- An ordinance authorizing technology upgrades and improvements at an appropriated sum of $256.7 thousand and a public hearing scheduled for September 6.
Councilman Dominic Aiello, the Chairperson of the Recreation Committee, reported he had attended a quarterly meeting right before the Council meeting with representatives from Caldwell which share services with the West Caldwell Recreation Department.
At this meeting, which was attended by Caldwell Councilmen Peter Murray and Richard Hauser and Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing, as well as West Caldwell Recreation Director Gabe DiMasi, the group discussed the ongoing problems with foul balls from the Kiwanis Oval landing into the adjacent apartment buildings on Roseland Aveue.
Aiello said the group discussed additional options to combat this problem and an engineer will explore this.
The agreement with Caldwell College for use of the Oval was also brought up and would be discussed further in West Caldwell's closed session.
Aiello also noted exploring shared service agreements of fields with the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education was also discussed at the joint meeting, as well as enhancements to programs for seniors.
- Several resolutions were unanimously passed establishing a process for police department promotions for the rank of captain, lieutenant, and sergeant. Councilman Richard Otterbein, the Committee Chairman for public saftey, announced interviews will now begin in September.
- Borough Administrator Jock Watkins thanked the Essex County DPW and County Liaison Alan Abramowitz for completion of the Stony Brook culvert project before the new school year begins.
- Mayor Joseph Tempesta also confirmed with Abramowitz the recent county project on Lane Avenue was only for milling and repaving and did not include installing curbs as a West Caldwell resident had recently believed. Tempesta noted the resident thought the town should have requested curbs and was originally given incorrect information by a county employee.
- Tempesta also confirmed West Caldwell will hold a September 11 Remembrance Ceremony on September 8 at 7 p.m. Tempesta noted the ceremony will not occur on the actual anniversary since many family members of the three West Cadwell residents who died in the World Trade Center attack were already attending services in New York on that day.
- Tempesta is also working on a monument dedicated to Bill Payne. With input from his family, the monument will be placed near the base of the town clock. This ceremony will be scheduled sometime in October.