BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township municipal budget is slowly moving toward final approval by the town council.
 
The latest resolution to amend the budget with funds regarding temporary municipal employees was introduced at the council’s July 15 meeting, with a goal of final approval next month.

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Prior to the council formally adopting the resolution, councilwoman Christine Henderson Rose read a short statement from Mayor Dan Hayes, who was not present at the meeting, regarding the late-term approval of the budget. Hayes commented in the statement that “at the end of the day, when push came to shove,” council president Matthew Moench and councilman Filipe Pedroso had agreed with his proposal, allocations, road work and other items, with no changes.

Hayes added that Moench and Pedroso, who both serve on the council’s budget committee, were “long on criticism” of the budget, and finished by saying that they had also delayed the municipal budget by five months, the same budget that Hayes said he had proposed back in February.



“It’s a shame he hasn’t moved on from the primary,” responded Pedroso, who labeled Hayes “a sore loser.”

Hayes was defeated in the Republican primary last month by Moench, who will continue his run to become Bridgewater’s new mayor in November. Hayes has served as mayor for the last eight years.

 

Pedroso elaborated that council members were presently not permitted to talk to municipal department heads alone about budgetary matters, per Hayes’s policy.

“It’s a huge challenge,” said Pedroso.

He also said that sometimes the council accepts the budget, and sometimes it doesn’t.

“It’s our job to go through the budget and keep as much money in the taxpayers’ pockets as possible,” Pedroso said.

The council originally introduced the 2019 municipal budget in early March, in the amount of $44,526,977.

Pedroso said he hopes to have a sound fiscal budget for next year, as Hayes is currently in his last term as mayor. The budget resolution was then introduced by a 5-0 vote of the council, and final action is expected to be taken at the next council meeting on Aug. 5.
 
The council also passed a resolution to purchase four black-and-white 2019 Police SUV Interceptors, one 2019 low-profile black-and-white SUV interceptor and one 2020 Ford Explorer four-wheel-drive vehicle in the total amount of $317,567 from Beyer Ford in East Hanover. The purchases will be funded thru the Somerset County Improvement Authority Somerset Municipal Banc Program.