At its most recent public session, Haddonfield’s board of commissioners approved upon second reading an ordinance that authorizes preservation of a cap bank for the upcoming 2020 budget.
During that June 9 virtual meeting, the borough’s governing body gave unanimous consent to the move. It allows for the borough’s final appropriations to be increased up to an additional 1 percent, to a total of 3.5 percent, over the previous year’s total budget amount.
“Under state law we have a 2.5-percent limit of increase over last year’s total budget appropriations, but by doing this cap bank, we have approval to go up to 3.5 percent, if it’s deemed necessary,” explained Commissioner for Revenue and Finance Jeffrey Kasko.
“And by passing this ordinance, we will be able to have the appropriations increase by that number ($123,958.59) for this year’s budget.”
The total 3.5-percent extension will add approximately $434,000 to the upcoming finalized budget count.
While Kasko did not provide a time frame for a budget to be completed, at the BOC’s previous public meeting on May 26, he strongly hinted a budget tightening would be on the table for this year – and next year – with revenues expected to decrease. The amount of state aid earmarked for the borough is uncertain as well.
Commissioners also passed a resolution to approve the introduction of the Partnership for Haddonfield budget, which has been reduced in light of the sudden economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We went to the Partnership for Haddonfield and said, given the constraints we will face, we talked about ways they could potentially cut the budget,” said Commissioner Colleen Bianco Bezich, a member of the organization’s board of trustees.
“We spent a few weeks working with the staff, and then we as commissioners sat down to look through things and to ask specific questions about how money was spent, and what we could do to reduce some cost. They looked things over, and it resulted in a reduction of over $100,000 to their 2020 budget, and what you have in front of you tonight is what they have done (to remedy the situation).”
The 2020 budget is expected to be $251,600, after sitting at almost $359,000 in 2019. A total of $250,000 was the result of assessments from the borough, with the remaining $1,600 coming from a county sponsorship and minimal interest income.
Among the major downtown events eliminated to make room for the amended budget were the Craft Fair and Fine Arts Festival, scheduled for July, and Night Market Food Truck events. Tree lighting and other beautification efforts saw a reduction of $6,000.
“No one’s happy about the downtown situation, but this is where we are,” Kasko said.
A public hearing for final budget adoption is scheduled to be held online on July 20 at 7:30 p.m.
In other news:
- Per Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough, borough hall was scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday, June 15. In accordance with social-distancing guidelines, all entryways are expected to be staffed to aid citizens as they come in and conduct whatever business they need in the safest possible manner. McCullough also revealed the Public Works building would be opened on June 15 as well.
- Commissioners also approved the appointments of 43 people to various boards, committees and key municipal positions. Included on the list were McCullough, whose new term as business administrator expires May 31, 2021; Public Works Superintendent Greg Ley (May 31, 2021); Deputy Borough Clerk Kate Lafferty (May 31, 2021); Community Development Officer/Zoning Officer Tavis Karrow (May 31, 2021); Municipal Judge Charles Shimberg (July 14, 2023); and Planning Board members Doug McCollister and Eugene Haag (May 31, 2024).