BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council is preparing to hear from Chief Financial Officer Natasha Turchan and other department heads regarding its introduced budget.

The budget, as introduced in early March, is set at $43,604,621.89 for 2017, a 0.3 percent increase over the realized 2016 budget of $43,447,365.18.

It calls for an increase in taxes of $17.16 for the average house assessed at $425,900.

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The tax levy is increasing 1.92 percent over the 2016 budget.

Turchan is expected to speak to the council at the March 30 township council meeting to answer questions as the annual budget review process continues.

“I applaud the efforts by council president Allen Kurdyla and our budget subcommittee, Howard Norgalis and Filipe Pedroso, to work with the administration to schedule individual department hearings on the proposed budget,” councilman Matthew Moench said in a release. “This is simply good government and a renewal of more robust council oversight at all stages of the budget process. Hearing firsthand from department officials in a public setting is good for the public and good for the council, and I hope it is something we continue again moving forward.”

According to the release, the mayor is responsible for preparing the budget for consideration by the council, which the council then approves or modifies. The budget subcommittee takes the lead in reviewing the budget line by line.

“Howard and I have started the process of reviewing the budget line-by-line to make sure that the money belonging to Bridgewater’s residents is spent appropriately and productively, and that potential wasteful spending is eliminated,” Pedroso said in the release. “Council president Kurdyla has demonstrated tremendous leadership by bringing back departmental presentations with appearances by department heads to be subject to questions and public inquiry. I have always been a keen advocate of increased openness and transparency in our government, so I applaud any effort to improve this important public need.”

For more information on upcoming budget hearings, contact township clerk Linda Doyle at bwtclerk@bridgewaternj.gov or call 908-725-6300.