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

Christopher Rinaldi for Town Council - Leadership, Judgement, Experience

May 17, 2018

My name is Christopher Rinaldi.  As a long-time member of the Republican Party, I am running in the Republican Primary on June 5th for Township Council and Republican Municipal Committee of Berkeley Heights.

As a follow-up to my Candidate Statements from the last two weeks, I would like to share with you a few areas of direct work experience garnered over the past 25 years that I believe ...

Redevelopment: Taking the First Step Together While Protecting Berkeley Heights

Redevelopment. It’s something that takes careful planning, foresight, the ability to negotiate for the most favorable outcome, and, of course, patience. I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to reach all of these milestones. Tomorrow, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, we as a community will take the first step together in the culmination of these efforts, when the ...

I am Proud to be Your Mayor

Honesty and results. Those two principles characterize my service to our community for the last nine years. I served on Town Council for four years and have been your Mayor for five years. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you and our community, steering it in a positive direction. During this time, I have learned about our Town, identified areas for improvement and been privileged ...

Taxes up, Services down.....At least someone is listening

May 15, 2018

Do you feel as if you are getting good services from the town for what you pay in property taxes? I don’t, and wanted to thank the one Council person who voted NO on this year’s municipal budget which will increase your taxes by more than 3 percent, exceeding the cap.  Thank you, Susan Poage, for listening to taxpayers.

When our Mayor grants raises by executive order ...

Who Is Dmitriy?

Who Is Dmitriy?

That is the question I asked myself in the past year or two. I first chanced across him online in community conversation. When an issue seemed to go nowhere, people starting to get ugly and nasty, personal attacks escalating, in would pop Dmitriy and with one comment, he could sum things up. He based his  opinion on information he knew, coupled with what he could glean ...

The NO vote on the Budget

I read today's letter to the editor from Councilwoman Susan Poage regarding her reasons for voting "no" on the town's 2018 budget. As I attend most meetings of our Township Council, including the one on May 8, I want the public to be aware of some facts that are not contained in Mrs. Poage's letter.

The 2018 Budget development process included public meetings on Feb. 26, ...

Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel Presents Special Women’s program

May 20, 2018


Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel, 763 Mountain Avenue, Berkeley Heights, is very pleased to host a unique free seminar for women on Saturday June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

The speaker will be Doctor Ruth Schwertfeger of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ruth was born in Northern Ireland, is a retired Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She speaks several languages, and ...

Kids Can Change The World

Karen De La Maza is the founder of “Kids Can Change The World”, a program designed to instill humane values in children while developing essential life skills and positive leadership. Karen and her family relocated to NJ from her native Mexico City in 2008 for her husband’s job.

Karen has always had a strong passion for helping people in need. With ten years of experience in ...

Racing to the Finish and Supporting Cancer Survivors


MAY 13, 2018 SUNDAY | BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ—On May 13, the Summit Area YMCA welcomed over 1,000 participants to the 17th Annual Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk at Memorial Field, in Berkeley Heights. This family-friendly event also hosted a fun magic show, invigorating Zumba dancing, a tot trot, face painting and music.

Matthew Byrne of Berkeley Heights won first place ...

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Offers Free Community CPR Classes and Plant/Flower Sale to Raise Funds for Relay for Life

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - National EMS Week – a time to celebrate EMTs and the important work they work do for our nation’s communities was established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.  This year National EMS Week is May 20 to May 26 and the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad (BHVRS) can think of no better way to celebrate EMS Week than by teaching YOU, our ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

New Providence Community Pool parking lot, New Providence

CSA Community Yard Sale

Giving Back

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

New Providence Community Pool parking lot, New Providence

CSA Community Yard Sale

Giving Back


Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Headquarters, Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Offers ...

Sun, May 20, 12:00 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, Mountainside

29th Annual Spring Garden Fair & Plant ...

Green Home & Garden

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

History of Silhouettes & Craft for Children


Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Summit High School, Summit

Summit Symphony Orchestra Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...