SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Scotch Plains Township Council introduced a $26 million municipal budget with a zero increase in local property taxes in 2020 at its meeting on Tuesday, April 21.
In accordance with Gov. Murphy's social distancing regulations, Mayor Al Smith, Township Manager Al Mirabella, and Deputy Mayor Margaret Heisey attended in person, while Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo and Council members Ted Spera, Elizabeth Stamler, and Roc White participated by phone. (The Municipal Building remains closed to the public.)
The municipal budget is funded primarily through local property taxes, along with New Jersey state aid (at an uncertain level this year because of coronavirus), and construction permits and fees.
Township Manager Al Mirabella said that the budget will not result in any reductions in services or layoffs among the municipal staff. He thanked the department heads, CFO Teddy Georgiou, and the council for their cooperation in the process.
Mayor Smith said "times are uncertain" and that we should "continue to monitor the impact of coronvirus" on the budget, but overall was cautiously pleased.
"It's a strong budget," the mayor said. “If we need to make any adjustments, we’ll make adjustments.”
“I insisted on as lean a budget as possible because this pandemic affects us in ways not yet fully understood," Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo told TAPintoSPF. "This budget maintains town services as they are... and I hope we can build on these services as the economy becomes stronger, as long as taxpayers are not further impacted.”
Losardo is the Democratic nominee to take on Mayor Smith in the November election.
The Council will hold a public hearing on the budget on Tuesday, May 26, before taking a final vote.
Additionally during the meeting, the Council introduced a nearly $1.9 million capital bond ordinance to finance purchases of a new fire truck for the fire department and other equipment. The ordinance will also be discussed at the May 26 meeting, along with the municipal budget.
Mayor Smith also took time during the meeting to thank volunteers and organizations that have been helping others during the pandemic, including the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary Club, which has coordinated donations and other activities and throughout SPF.
To view the meeting, click here.
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