Summit's Proposed Budget Makes Community Less Safe Each Ensuing Year

I applaud Mayor Glatt's Op Ed piece. What the Finance Committee, specifically Messers Madden, Getzendanner and Bomgaars has done is create a budget that will increase our property taxes while making our Community less safe. It is a budget that will build in a process whereby we will make the community less and less safe each ensuing year. Specifically, their budget does the following:

1. It has no money to replace the 2 current vacancies in the Police Department. Police Officer head count will be reduced from the current number of 48 to 46.

2. It changes the replacement schedule for police vehicles from 3 years to 6 years, which simply is unmanageable.

3. It reduces the overtime budget from last year by $30,000 for each department. We currently are over last year's overtime budgets and we exceeded last year's budget. We always do. It is not rational to assume you can eliminate police officers and reduce overtime. The reason the PD and FD have high OT numbers is because they have reduced staffing in the past and are now at minimal levels.

4. The reduced OT numbers will mean that the FD will not be able to fight fires in excess of 51 shifts until personnel are recalled. This means we in effect are becoming a quasi -Volunteer FD.

5. The Council rejected a proposal from the PBA that involved givebacks of approximately $45,000 a year over the next 3 years in return for saving these two positions.

The math doesn't work. The increase OT couple with the PBA givebacks exceeds the salary of two new police officers. This vote will actually cost the taxpayers of Summit more money and make it less safe at a critical time. The Morris Avenue bridge will be replaced next year and it will likely take a year. There simply will not be police personnel available for the extra duty that might be required. If I lived on Woodland, Passiac, Summit Avenues or Kent Place Boulevard, I would be very concerned.

There is an even more frightening aspect of Council's actions. We will not be able to meet the reduced OT budgets. This means that we will have to reallocate money in November, the only time we are permitted to do so. Since this is a bare bones budget and most of it will have been expended by then, our only realistic option is to "borrow" against next year's budget. So, you will be reducing next year's OT budget further despite the fact you missed last year's. This is likely to result in further cuts to Police and Fire next year when the cycle will repeat itself. This commonly is referred to as a "death spiral." Once you start, you cannot get out and if we go from a 4.0% Cap to a 2.5% Cap, it will further aggravate an already unworkable situation. We will be on a path of reducing Fire and Police and making our City less and less safe despite ever new and challenging demands. This is not fear mongering. It is reality.

If you are as concerned as I and the Mayor are, I suggest you make those concerns known before the damage is done. Phone, email, write. or better yet,attend the June 1st Council Meeting and be heard.

Councilman Michael J. Vernotico is Chairman of the Public Safety Committee in Summit, New Jersey.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

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.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, February 19 – Sunday, February 25, 2018

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library are continuing their book collection in preparation for Annual Book Sale.  Kids are off from school on Monday for Presidents’ Day – bring them to the library!  We have plenty for them to do.  For adults, Professor Licklider’s second lecture on North Korea will take place on Tuesday.  The ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

#NoMore

February 20, 2018

To the Editor,

I told my daughter I needed to write about gun violence. Know what she told me? “Mom, be sure you’re not too polarizing. People won’t listen.” She’s right. At age eleven she’s figured out that we adults need to be reminded how to speak to one another in order to fix a problem. But I have hope and belief that we can fix that discourse in our ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Adults Who Interact With Teens Offered Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

February 23, 2018

With teenage suicide rates on an upswing, a barrage of tragedies in the news, and the heightened pressures of adolescence in a media-frenzied world, it’s more important than ever for caring adults to know how to intervene effectively.

Morris County again this year is funding Youth Mental Health First Aid training through NewBridge Services for adults who regularly interact with children ...