WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Public hearings will be held on March 6 for two ordinances that were introduced by the West Caldwell Township Council last week: one ordinance to establish and preserve a cap bank, and a bond ordinance appropriating $737,000 for road improvements within the township.

Adopting the bond ordinance would authorize the milling and paving of Beverley Road and other roads throughout West Caldwell. Negotiable bonds in the amount of $701,000 would also be authorized in order to help the township finance the cost of these improvements.

In preparation of its annual budget, the township typically establishes and preserves a cap bank that will limit any increase in the municipal budget up to 2.5 percent over last year’s final appropriations unless it adopts an ordinance authorizing an increase of 3.5 percent over last year.

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Chief Financial Officer Nicole Monroig explained that the cap bank ordinance is something that most municipalities adopt, and one that West Caldwell establishes every year.

“If you do not use the full cap, you can bank up to 3.5 by ordinance above the 2.5 [percent],” she said. “It just allows us to bank for three years the extra that we do not use, so that in the next three years, if something happens and we do have to increase our budget more, we have the room to do it.”

According to the mayor and council, it might be advisable in 2018 to increase the budget by up to 3.5 percent over 2017 in the interest of promoting the health, safety and welfare of the residents of West Caldwell.

Should the majority of the governing body vote in favor of the ordinance, the final appropriations of the township in 2018 will be increased up to 3.5 percent, amounting to no more than $478,569.31.

Monroig distributed the first of several budget summaries to the council members last week and explained some of what she has been working on with the local department heads.

“At the moment, other expenses are up $100,000; that’s mostly health insurance,” she said. “Salary and wages is currently up approximately $72,000; there were some ups and some downs there with some retirements and the large amount of that is required by our police contract. The total increase that we’re going up is approximately at the moment $522,000; about $400,000 or so of that is expected, which we knew was from some debt service increases.

“We have some work to do still. I’ll continue to work on these budgets and speak to the department heads.”

Monroig also suggested having a special budget meeting to discuss it further in the coming weeks, which the council agreed to schedule.