LIVINGSTON, NJ – Town Manager Michele Meade presented the 2014 annual budget for Livingston Township at the March Town Council meeting on Monday.
Meade stated that the goal of the budget plan is to “provide quality services at an affordable price, while enhancing fiscal stability.” To accomplish this goal, Meade said she believes the township needs the increasing of “local non-tax revenues” to offset costs.
According to the presentation, 73.4 percent of the township’s revenues come directly from the collection of property taxes, with local revenues only accounting for 11.3 percent. Local revenues are anticipated to be $538,000 less in 2014 compared to 2013, which Meade stated is due to “burglar alarm fees” and the “one-time accelerated tax sale.” Although revenues have lowered this year, it was stated that they have increased 38 percent in the last five years.
Meade also said that there was a “2.8 percent increase” in the total cost of the budget for last year, making the total 2014 budget $48,257,778.
This will result in a $63 increase in property taxes for the year on average, according to the presentation. The average cost to the Livingston resident is $222.30 per month—public safety ($57.94) and “capital debt services” ($36.56)—or basically for infrastructure and improvements to the town.
According to Meade “persistent tax appeals are still an obstacle in providing a high level of quality services, while maintaining long-term fiscal stability.”
Resident Larry Kohn made a public comment on some of the budget expenditures that were to be voted on and approved that night, asking about a $205,000 cost to an engineering firm. After a back and forth discussion of whether or not the $205,000 was for “soft costs” or not, the Council did not give a clear response.
“I am at a loss here,” Kohn stated, “Do you know where the $205,000 is to be spent? You are voting on it tonight.”
“I don’t really know,” Mayor Rieber responded, “I have to trust the engineering department.” According to Meade, the cost was due to the repairing of a number of roads, however she was not specific.
It was announced that on April 28, there will be a public hearing on the 2014 budget and that the public is encouraged to attend.
Camuso Committee Presents Donation to Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation
In other news, yet again, the Camuso Committee provided funds for the Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation with Steve Santola presenting a check for $2,653 to Beverly K. Foster, Director, Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation.
Council Declares Pre-eclampsia Awareness Month
The Council also declared it Pre-eclampsia Awareness Month. Pre-eclampsia is a disorder that may affect pregnant women, which results in seizures during pregnancy and possibly death. It is characterized by high blood pressure and high amounts of protein in the urine.
By proclaiming it Pre-eclampsia Awareness Month, the Council hopes to “bring more awareness” to the issue in order to help save lives.