Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Montclair Council Adopts 2018 Municipal Budget
Montclair Township Council unanimously adopted the 2018 municipal budget during the March 20 council meeting.
This year's budget will see increased spending with only a minor corresponding tax rate increase, thanks to the efforts of Township Council in ensuring higher revenue streams to offset expenditures. The municipal tax increase of 1.85% is below the 2% statutory limit.
“The 2017 budget is directly in line with our long-term debt management goals,” said Mayor Jackson. “In October of 2017 we adopted a resolution setting our debt balance target for 2018 through 2023 and have actually beat our own 2018 target. At the end of this year, we will be below the $170M mark – something once unimagined.”
The 2018 budget calls for a $350,000 spending increase for additional Police personnel – the Department will add three officers to the current force of 109 for a total of 112 officers. An additional three dispatchers and five crossing guards will be hired. Contractual wage increases are also reflected in the budget.
Funding is also included for the purchase of Segways which Police Community Services Unit officers use to better engage with the community and quickly and effectively respond to various situations.
Quality of Life Issues
This year’s budget shows increased support for the Township’s vacant property maintenance efforts ($70,000). Montclair adopted an aggressive program in 2015, requiring owners to register vacant properties and ensure they are aware of their responsibilities regarding these properties. Funding for 2018 will ensure the continued success of this program.
Department of Health and Human Services
Funding has been allocated for an additional full-time nurse as well as for continued support for Senior Services programs.
Department of Community Services
The budget shows increased funding for Bigbelly smart waste disposal units which have been installed throughout the Township. Spending on tipping fees has also increased due to rate hikes. The budget sees similar increases in recycling costs.
The Township seeks continued support for faster construction permit turnaround times with a significant increase in funding for additional personnel ($100,000).
Significant increases are made for funding the Township’s network infrastructure and security as well as general enhancements with new software purchases, equipment refurbishments and upgrades.
The budget increases did not result in corresponding increase in taxes because of:
Strong PILOT revenues
A 10 to 15% increase in other revenues (fees, permits, etc.)
Moving to the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP)
No increase in medical costs but a slight increase in prescription costs (outside of SHBP plan)
Separate from budget the Council also approved a $10M bond ordinance for continued improvements to streets and curbs, parks playgrounds and to purchase equipment necessary for effective and efficient winter snow clearing efforts.
“This is a budget that focuses on major infrastructure and quality of life improvements without increasing debt,” said Mayor Robert Jackson.