Elections

Letters to the Editor

Councilman: Westfield’s Budget Surplus Wasn't 'Hidden' from Public

3d1adfd24c5365b115d5_5b0969680de0a2b560de_letter_to_the_editor.jpg
3d1adfd24c5365b115d5_5b0969680de0a2b560de_letter_to_the_editor.jpg

Dear Editor:

The election campaign period is known as the “silly season” because candidates will say almost anything to get elected. One of the silliest things heard this year, from the Democratic candidates for the Westfield Town Council, is that Westfield’s budget surplus has been “hidden” from the public and should be spent down immediately.

It is critically important to maintain surplus funds as a municipal savings account. In our personal lives, we understand the importance of savings, and professionals recommend that we have available six months of expenses. In municipal budgeting, the benchmark is a fund balance of 15 percent to 20 percent of a town’s annual expenditures.

Sign Up for E-News

As a result of the decision-making and planning of Westfield’s mayor and council, our fund balance entering 2015 was 17 percent of budgeted expenses. That has not been kept secret, nor should it be. All of Westfield’s budget documents are publicly available on the town’s website. Our nearly $6.6 million surplus is disclosed in the 2015 State Municipal Budget Filing available under the “Budget” tab at www.westfieldnj.gov.

Having worked so hard to build its rainy-day fund, it is silly to think that the town would not disclose it, and even sillier to suggest that the money should be spent to pander to voters. The importance of a fund balance was never more evident than after the collapse of the financial markets in 2008 and the ensuing Great Recession.

Westfield weathered the financial storm of cuts in state aid, lower property tax collections and a two percent tax levy cap because it had an appropriate savings account. Nature’s storms soon followed, including Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, for which the town unexpectedly had to pay substantial amounts for public safety, infrastructure repairs and recovery efforts. Wisely, we had saved for those very circumstances. Others apparently would not have.

In the past three years we have rebuilt our surplus to meet recommended standards.  Our hard work did not go unnoticed, except by certain council candidates.  When Standard and Poor’s awarded its AAA credit rating to Westfield in August, it specifically noted the town’s surplus as a reason, stating that “[b]eginning in 2012, … the town made a number of changes to restore fiscal health and rebuild fund balanc ….  Fiscal 2014 marks the third year in a row with a general fund surplus since the aforementioned fiscal measures bega …. Westfield’s budgetary flexibility is very strong, … with an available fund balance in fiscal 2014 of 17 percent of operating expenditures, or $6.6 million.” It does not get much more public than that.

As a result of our AAA rating, the interest rate on our recent 12-year bonds was only 2.027 percent. Our surplus caused that very low rate and netted substantial savings for Westfield taxpayers. While spending down our fund balance might provide some fleeting tax relief, reducing or eliminating our fund balance would result in residents paying higher property taxes over a much longer term and the town having no savings available for a rainy day. I urge the Democratic town council candidates to stop being so silly.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Springfield Acupuncturist Charged with Sexual Assault of Patient

February 24, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ — A Springfield-based acupuncturist and was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a patient, Acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan and Springfield Police Chief John Cook jointly announced Friday.

 Edward Raskin, 55, of Chatham Township, Morris County, was charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9cfec6f1d81f034823a4_1d4v9602

Sat, February 24, 1:00 PM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Free Kids Expo and Water Safety Event

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 7:00 PM

Grand Summit Hotel, Summit

The Burlesque Ball

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Westfield Police Blotter: Man Steals 60 Pairs of Pants from Downtown Store & More

February 21, 2018

February 14, 2018 10:53 p.m.

Officers Gill and Weiss arrested Luis Murillo, age 30, of Rahway, NJ, for two outstanding warrants out of Westfield Municipal Court ($500) and Woodbridge Municipal Court ($500) pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in Scotch Plans Township. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released after posting requisite bail.

 

February 15, 2018 5:24 ...

Union County Hosts First LGBTQ Roundtable

February 24, 2018

On Tuesday, February 20, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, through the Office of LGBTQ Services, hosted a roundtable with over 20 leading LGBTQ advocacy and ally organizations that serve Union County and New Jersey. Facilitated by Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality, more than 40 participants met to discuss LGBTQ-related programs, services, issues and ...

The Missing Moses

A seemingly dubious distinction belongs to this week’s Parshah, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20–30:10). It is the only reading in the Torah — from the first Parshah of the book of Exodus (in which he is born) until the end of the book of Numbers — where the name of Moses is not mentioned. Tetzaveh’s opening words are V’atah ...

‘Month of Hope’ at Wilson School

Inspired by the HOPE Week Initiative introduced in 2009 by the New York Yankees, Mr. Joseph Malanga, principal of Wilson School and a fan of the American League professional ballclub, declared January the “Month of Hope” at Wilson.

Malanga called on the school’s faculty Acts of Kindness Committee to choose the charitable organizations to be recipients of the weekly donation ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Would the Stock Market Affect Your Home Purchase?

"Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night." ("All About Eve.") While most people misquote this as "It's going to be a bumpy ride," the actual quote works better for the movie. Bette Davis delivers this with the classic style that made her one of the most loved actresses of her generation.

Well for the stock market it’s been a wild bumpy ...

Good News in NJ for Veterans

Beginning in the 2017 tax year, New Jersey will give an additional $3,000 exemption for military veterans. You are eligible to claim this exemption NJ state income tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or before the last day of the tax year.

 

The ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

Investors love to rally around a stock story. Today it’s all about the FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) are a major reason why the S&P 500 rallied so much in 2017. Mr. Market is convinced the FAANGs are impervious to a sell-off. “Its different this time” is ringing loud and clear, but will the outcome really be that ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Nutley Police Make Arrest In Instagram School Threat Case

February 24, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ — An 18-year-old high school student has been charged with Third Degree False Public Alarm after an Instagram post led the Nutley school district to close schools last week.

Joseph Rafanello, a senior at Nutley High School, was arrested and taken to Essex County Jail.The arrest followed a full investigation by the police. The video at ...