SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Borough Council, at a meeting July 13, adopted its 2020 municipal budget.
The $31,254,000 spending plan is a $248,616 increase over the prior year’s budget of $31,005,384. Of that total, over $21 million will be offset by taxes to fund municipal and library operations including but not limited to, public safety, debt service/principal payments, health insurance costs, and community pool.
According to borough officials, the budget-to-budget increase is up just a little over 1-percent from the current year. As a result, municipal taxes will increase by approximately $109.15 for a home with an assessed value of $122,500 with the tax increase mostly attributable to the current healthcare crisis.
As of press time, said Administrator/CFO Glenn Cullen, the municipality is experiencing ‘significant revenue losses’ from hotel taxes and court and building department fees. Prior to the state shutdown in March, the borough received approximately $80,000 a month in building fees; $55,000 in court fees; and $35,000 in hotel fees.
Currently, said Cullen, the borough is down $210,000 in court fees; $260,000 in building permits and fees; and $120,000 in hotel taxes as well as $160,000 in sewer fees. Additionally, tax appeals, which ‘had previously gone south for a while’ have increased.
“A number of significant adjustments have been made to salaries and wages in the areas of recreation, police, public works…” said Cullen. “We have [also] made pretty significant cuts in expenses but it is still very difficult to offset some of those revenue losses. We are really hoping toward the tail end of the year we make up some of this in terms of revenue and CARES Act funding [which] is not included in the budget at this time.”
"During this pandemic, every state, county and municipality is seeing drastic decreases in revenues. In fact, New Jersey just borrowed nearly $10 billion because of their revenue shortfalls," Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Jr., chair of the borough's finance committee, told TAPinto South Plainfield following the budget adoption, noting that the South Plainfield is 'not borrowing any money to cover revenue short falls, but rather taking measures to cut expenses as much as we possibly can throughout the municipality.'
"Thanks to our CFO/Administrator Glenn Cullen and all department heads we took early action. Salaries year over year are flat and the budget is up less than 1-percent. While surrounding towns and counties are seeing double digit increases, we have been able to keep ours down to single digits," he said. "We will always work hard to continue to keep our financial standing strong for our residents for years to come, so that our seniors and families can continue to afford to stay here."
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