HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Council, by a vote of four votes in the affirmative, one in the negative with one abstention, approved the introduction of the 2020 Budget Wednesday evening in a special meeting called to introduce the budget.
Council members Josephine Ciocia, Russell Lipari, Ron Kistner and Justine DiPisa voted for passage. Councilman Christopher Hillmann voted against, Councilman Stephen Reyngoudt abstained.
Additionally, the Council approved, unanimously, to reschedule the next meeting on the budget from June 16 to June 24, with the July meeting also being rescheduled from July 7 to July 14. The meetings will start at 6 p.m. and will be continue to be held virtually, under the guidelines for social distancing and safe public meeting.
There was no other business on the agenda, except the public hearing of citizens.
Prior to the introduction of the resolution on the introduction of the Budget. Mayor Jack DeLorenzo made the following statement.
"I would like to make this comment to clear up some confusion that is out there.
Mike Kronyak, our Chief Financial Officer, has been working on the department heads for months. In the fall, all departments are requested to present their requested budget for the upcoming year. It is put together by Mike, and once together, we begin discussions as the Finance committee. Council members can, and should work with their respective committees at this time. I always encourage Council members to speak to the department heads and speak with Mr. Kronyak at any time during the process.
When they claim to not be informed, they are reminded of this frequently, and in many public meetings they can ask for information at any time they want. The budget was provided to everyone the Friday night before the last budget meeting. None of the Council members called with a question or concern.
Specifically, regarding this budget process, we follow the state statutes, laws, and guidelines every year, We propose a budget for introduction, when it is introduced, which is why we are here tonight, it will then be approved and posted on our website, as it is every year. The next meeting we will invite the public, to comment, and anyone can come in and discuss it. But we need to introduce the budget so that we can make it available to the public, and have the meeting for public comment and questions.
This budget is based on the recommendations of our department heads and Mr. Kronyak. Now, they Finance Committee is recommending it after many hours of review to the Council, I have full confidence in Mr. Kronyak as our CFO to present the best budget possible for the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights."
During the public hearing of citizens, Adam Mucci asked Mayor DeLorenzo “why not have a Democrat and a Republican on the committee for the Budget?”
DeLorenzo responded that he assigns the Committees, and “that he bases that on experience, to be honest with you, and the two people on the Committee have vast experience in doing it.”
Jennifer Ober raised the question as to when the public could see the budget. Kronyak responded that it should be on the Borough website Friday or Monday at the latest. By statute, towns have to give a 28-day gap between introduction and publication 10-days prior to public hearing on the Budget.
Kronyak said the Budget is a very lengthy document, 50 or 60 pages, and will published in its entirety online. Mayor DeLorenzo noted that is why the Budget process is a lengthy process, and takes two meetings to get passed, so people can have time to review the document and ask questions.
Erica Galli asked if the Department Heads would be available at the next meeting to answer questions about their department budgets.
DeLorenzo stated that the Department heads are usually at the meetings, but for specific questions, she could call and ask, and they would get the answers for her.
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