CHATHAM, NJ - Revenue is flat, shared services are reaching a maximum level and the only choice in the future is for Chatham Borough to develop more tax revenue.
That was the basic message delivered by Borough of Chatham Council President Jim Lonergan with his power-point presentation on "Financial Planning" at the final 2016 regular meeting of the council on Monday night.
"We're in a box and the box is only getting tighter," Lonergan said.
Council president Jim Lonergan says that increased revenue is the only way "out of the box" for financially strapped Chatham Borough
Lonergan did not mention any specific development projects, but said he expects opposition to anything that the council might propose. One area being looked at for development is the old post office building at Post Office Plaza, where the lease is not expected to be renewed.
"All indications are that they are not going to be there much longer," Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris said. "I do not have a letter from the post office saying so. We would look into multi-use development."
Apartments and a parking garage are among the possible development at Post Office Plaza, although no plans will be made until a feasibility study is done. No study has been proposed at this time.
Chatham Borough's updated Master Plan, recently approved by the planning board, allows for multi-use zoning, such as the four-story, 47-unit apartment building that will be coming to River Road. The apartments will go up at 16 River Road, where the Burling Instrument Company is located.
Chatham Borough Council President Jim Lonergan talks about the need for more revenue
The first part of Lonergan's report explained how inter-dependent Chatham Borough is on shared services, which saves quite a bit of taxpayer funds. Chatham currently shares services with Madison, Chatham Township, Morris County, Summit, Long Hill and, most recently, the Chatham Board of Education.
Chatham Borough saved the BOE and taxpayers $110,000, according to borough administrator Robert Falzarano, by providing the construction work for Washington Avenue School's new parking lot that was completed by the department of public works over the summer.
The big-ticket shared services listed by Lonergan include the sewer facility, shared with Madison, and the partnership with Chatham Township on the school system and the library.
Lonergan put up a chart showing that without shared services, Chatham Borough would need to raise taxes by 63 percent per household in order to pay for needed expenses.