Budget questions raised at council meeting

Gloucester Township budget still not adopted

The municipal budget was a topic of sometimes heated debate at the May 29 Gloucester Township Council meeting.

The budget was introduced in April with the idea of no municipal tax increase. However some citizens are wondering how long that will last.

Council was asked if it considered the present and future of the township when putting together the budget.

Tom Cardis, Gloucester Township business administrator, explained what went into the process and how they planned it.

“In terms of what we know about, like debt services, we don’t know what the state pension is going to bill us. We have some idea about our insurances and we have some idea about the health insurance. We have some ideas about the salaries and wages because they are still under contract, some of those expire at the end of this year. They will go into negotiations, I don’t know what will happen beyond that, so there is some certainty, there are also some areas where we are not sure, “ said Cardis.

Resident Ray Polidoro was concerned about the possibility of a tax increase in the next three years and would like to see some relief for the citizens of Gloucester Township in those three years.

“According the schedule, every other year this is a tax increase, almost double digits each time in 2014, 2016 and 2018. With the budget looking into the future and present, the schedule would dictate that there is tax increase coming next year,” said Polidoro.

Polidoro asked council if it could guarantee there would be no increase in the next three years, and he was not offered that guarantee.

Although the council introduced budget in April, it was unable to adopt it at this meeting because it is still waiting to hear back from the state Division of Local Government Services.

“We did not receive that authorization yet from the state of New Jersey. Once we receive that, we will adopt it at a subsequent meeting” said council President Orlando Mercado.

There was a resolution on the agenda to amend the budget, but it was placed on there for a “just in case” measure.

“That resolution was in there just in case we had to amend the budget. We’re waiting for the state to give us the OK. They review our budget and they say you can adopt. We have not received the you can adopt part. If we have to amend it, that is where we can use that resolution,” said Mercado.

In other news:

Renee Taylor’s appointment as the registrar of vital statistics was confirmed.

Matt Eliott Wilson was appointed to the Gloucester Township Housing Authority. Wilson is filling the unexpired term of Stanley Washington. The term will expire in Dec., 31, 2023.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 10.