WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Town Council passed the township's 2012-2013 budget, reducing the original 1.9% proposed tax increase to 0% for the third year in a row.  The 70.4 million dollar budget reflects a drop of 1.8 million from last year's budget and is approximately 2.7 million below the mandatory 2% cap imposed by Governor Christie.

Council President Victor Cirilo, Councilpersons Susan McCartney, Patty Spango, and Jerry Guarino voted in favor of the budget, citing its leanness while still attempting to ensure across the board retention of township services.   Councilperson Krakoviak voted against the budget, expressing concern over town safety issues, particularly in the realm of police services, and forced police overtime.

Several reports have been recently released showing that crime has actually decreased in West Orange, but Chris Jacksic, President of  PBA Local 25, noted that there has been an uptick over the past two months. 

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Along with the four police positions being left vacant, 22 other positions will not be refilled or cut. These cuts will be reviewed when the 2013-2014 budget begins preparation.  

The council made it clear that it was difficult to know what to cut when all of the items were essential. The police and the fire departments were especially important to everyone. Several members of the town council assured the public that , even though some jobs were eliminated, all essential police officers and firemen were still on the job. Joe Krakoviak was concerned about several issues, including the possibility of significant cuts in the police and fire departments by 2015. Mayor Parisi said that it was impossible to predict what the situation would be 3 years from now. However, it is important to make cuts today in order to avoid problems later on.  

In other meeting news, about 25 residents attended the town council meeting.   The meeting began at 6:30 by honoring Whole Foods as the Business of the Month. Daniel Russo was there on behalf of the store to accept this award. Mr. Russo mentioned several  things that the store does for the community, and also programs that are offered at the store such as Free Jazz every Tuesday night from 6-8. 

Go  to http://www.wholefoods.com or http://www.facebook.com/WholeFoodsWestOrange for more information about Whole Foods.

 Go to http://www.essex-countynj.org/ for more information ), about events in Essex County.

The council discussed  also discussed different resolutions. One of them pertained to a service contract, not to exceed $6,500, involving the property at 55-57 Ridgeway Avenue. The idea of using this property for a park was mentioned. http://thealternativepress.com/articles/west-orange-continues-discussion-on-fate-of-ridge.

For more information on recent crimes in West Orange, go to:

(See http://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-orange/articles/crime-rates-in-west-orange-for-2012-releasedhttp://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-orange/articles/west-orange-police-department-makes-arrests;http://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-orange/articles/intruders-captured-in-west-orange-break-inhttp://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-orange/articles/west-orange-murder-suspect-nolvin-garcia-captured).