Letters to the Editor

Re: Commentary on the BH Tax Payers Official Newsletter “Our Voice”

I’d like to respond to the misleading and inflammatory information contained in the article “Budget Woes” in the recent mailing of the Berkeley Heights Taxpayers Association newsletter “Our Voice” dated June 2011. In it, the author, who is unknown, stated that 2011 salaries n our Administration/Executive Dept., Engineering Dept., and Recreation Dept., increased by 8.8%, 9.0 %, and 9.4% respectively over 2010.  While this is true, the unknown author failed to mention that these were not salary raises.  Rather, the numbers cited reflect the following series of events.

Last year, as you may remember, all township employees (except police, dispatch, and a statutory employee) were furloughed the equivalent of 7 days without pay in order to balance our budget without further taxation.  This reduced the salary and wage line by $56,000 for the 2010 budget year.  Additionally, our Township Engineer position was vacated the end of September and the position went unfilled for the remainder of 2010, again reducing the salary and wage line.  In April 2010, the entire Council chose to forgo their salaries for the remainder of the year to further reduce the 2010 budget. 

This year no one was furloughed, Council is being paid for the full year at the same salary we have received since 2002, and we hired a new Township Engineer in January 2011.  So yes, it “appears” that 2011 salaries have increased by 9+ %, but only because salaries were reduced in 2010 for purposes of balancing the budget for that year, and because a position went unfilled for the last 3 months of 2010.  In reality, on January 1, salaries were increased 1% and on July 1st salaries will increase another 1.5%. It should be noted that our employees received no salary increases for 2009 and 2010. 

Sign Up for E-News

On January 1, 2011, I hired a new Township Administrator for $20,000 more that our previous administrator, which I publicly announced upon her hiring.  She is worth every penny, and in fact, she has found efficiencies and cost reductions year to date that amount to well over the $20,000 salary difference between her and the former administrator. She is committed to continue this ongoing review to ensure more reductions. She also voluntarily contributes an extra percentage toward her medical benefits than required.  She has her bachelor’s degree in Engineering and MBA from Lehigh University, is a certified Town Clerk and Registrar, and will soon complete her Certified Financial Officer and Tax Collector training. 

The fact is that the 2011 Salary/Wage line was reduced by $92,000 and the Operation/Expense line was reduced by $36,000 over 2010 because of a reduction in staff and efficiencies.  The Berkeley Heights Council, led by Council President Kevin Hall and Council Vice President Craig Pastore, should be commended for reducing the 2011 municipal budget by over $50,000 compared to 2010, without any impact to services.  This could have only been accomplished by thorough analysis of expenditures and the discipline of “zero-based” budgeting.

To state that $3,000 was taken from the senior citizen budget to fund salary raises is categorically misleading. Expenditure reductions were implemented after reviews of previous years’ spending. It is additionally significant to understand that the “senior citizens” funding goes solely to the “Senior Citizen Association”, not for activities for all seniors.  This Association is not a department in the Township, but is a private organization.

MORE IMPORTANTLY is the fact that the persons or person who produced this newsletter should have attended the public budget meetings in February, March, and April if they wanted to have real input and not wait until 4 days before an election in June. No one from the BH Taxpayers Association attended a single budget meeting or voiced any concern during our budget deliberations. In other words “OUR VOICE” was a “SILENT VOICE” when it mattered most.  For that matter, who is “Our Voice?”  In this entire newsletter there is no one’s name attached to any article including the president’s message! Who are they and where are they getting their information?

In closing, let me remind “OUR VOICE,” whoever it is, that all of us who were elected are also taxpayers and are as concerned about controlling taxes as are all residents.  As Mayor, I represent all of the taxpayers in Berkeley Heights, and along with the Council, we will do everything we can to manage taxes while continuing to maintain the quality of life that we enjoy as residents of Berkeley Heights.

As always, I welcome input and discussion in this or any other matter, but all must come to the table in the spirit of fairness, honesty, and goodwill.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Center for Hope Hospice Starts 2018 with $10,000 Donation from RSI Bank

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – RSI Bank, headquartered in Rahway, has been a long-time supporter of the Center for Hope Hospice, which offers hospice and palliative care in its two residences, in patients’ homes and other healthcare settings.

A generous donation from the bank has helped the Center start the year with $10,000 more in its Charitable Care Program, which enables those ...

Third Annual Rockin' For Autism Music Festival

All-day festival benefiting Autism New Jersey will feature local bands, food trucks, vendors, a merchant raffle, bake sale, obstacle course and lots of family fun! Join us for a day of great music, food, fun -- and help us raise funds and awareness for a great cause.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. April 14, in LaGrande Park. 200 LaGrande Ave., ...

HOLD: Fellowship Helping Hands Receives Home Care Award

Fellowship Helping Hands, the home care agency operated by Fellowship Senior Living in Basking Ridge,  has received the 2018 Best of Home Care® – Provider of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse, announced Liz Fandel, vice president of Home Community Based Services at Fellowship Senior Living.

Fellowship Helping Hands is a New Jersey licensed home care service for older and ...

New Jersey Youth Symphony Announces Bring A Buddy Week March 4-8

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ—New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) invites young musicians in grades 3-11 to attend open rehearsals for Bring A Buddy Week, March 4-8 at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. Participating students will observe the first half of a rehearsal. Students can visit any ensemble based on their grade and experience level. Students who do not have a friend in an ensemble can still ...

Colleen Mahr Is The Leader Our Party Needs

February 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

My name is Patti Murgo. I am Committeewoman in Linden’s Eighth Ward. I am a life-long  DEMOCRAT, a party activist, and a believer in what being a democrat stands for. Last week, I received a piece of literature from our municipal chairman, Nick Scutari, regarding his “plans” for the County Democratic Party if he is elected county chairman.


No One Is More Qualified and Capable to be Our Next Democratic Committee Chair Than Colleen Mahr

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a pillar of consistency in Union County for the last 20 years, having devoted her life to public service. There is no one more qualified and capable to lead us as our next Union County Democratic Committee Chair.

Colleen has mentored, coached and supported countless candidates running for office in Union County, all across our 21 ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, February 19, 7:00 PM

Villagers Theatre, Somerset

Hairspray Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, February 20

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

The Underground Railroad Documentary

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...