At last night’s Town Council meeting, I updated residents about the impact of the three nor’easters on the draft 2018 budget. The comments I made last night concerned proposed revisions to this draft budget and an explanation for those revisions.

I’d like to provide additional context around the budget process and then discuss the impact of the recent winter storms on the draft budget. We will present the budget in full at a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Budget process

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Each year, the Mayor and Township Council hold open public meetings to review and discuss the proposed budget and proposed capital needs for the year, line by line. For 2018, those meetings were held on February 26 and March 5. At the conclusion of these meetings, the proposed average tax increase for the 2018 township budget was $70 per household (based on an assessed value of approximately $312,000).  Those meetings were live-streamed and recorded and are available at https://livestream.com/bhtwp.

Storm impact discussion at April 2 meeting

The three March nor’easters caused the Township to incur significant costs for salt, and additional costs for contractors to remove snow from intersections and remove dangerous trees, hanging branches, and fallen trees and branches. To date, these necessary activities have used up approximately 81 percent of the proposed 2018 snow removal budget.

On April 2, 2018, we held an additional public budget meeting to discuss the impact of the storms on the proposed 2018 budget.  Our CFO recommended increasing the 2018 proposed snow removal budget by $25,000 to cover the costs of potential storms in November and December 2018. The CFO noted that the Environmental Commission has generously provided the town with $10,000 from their tree trust monies to cover some of the additional costs incurred by the Township to care for dangerous trees and hanging branches. The CFO also proposed adding an additional summer DPW intern to provide manpower for spring clean-up and field maintenance as these projects will be delayed due to the extensive storm clean-up. This additional intern will not require us to allocate additional monies as there was a change in staffing during the first quarter of 2018 so the proposed budget has room to absorb the cost of this additional part-time resource.

Net effect: $5 additional increase per household due to storm impacts

The net effect of the three March nor’easters is that the proposed 2018 budget will increase an additional $5 to support the high costs of snow removal and tree removal and care. The 2018 proposed budget would require an average increase of $75 per household (based on an assessed value of approximately $312,0000) rather than the $70 originally proposed. 

Join the discussion

Please join us on Tuesday, April 10th at 7 p.m. in Town Hall as the Township formally introduces the 2018 budget.  Questions are always welcome, as this is a complicated process.

We have survived an unusual amount of snow this year.  As we “get back to normal,” we appreciate both your patience and understanding.  We are all in this together. 

Mayor Bob Woodruff