The Borough of Haddonfield officially adopted its 2020 operating budget after the three-member board of commissioners unanimously voted to approve it at a Sept. 22 virtual public session.
Passage of the budget, typically introduced and adopted in the spring, had been delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting delay in ascertaining the final amount of state aid available to the borough.
In addition, the economic impact of COVID restrictions meant general revenue was decreased, and required the postponement or cancellation of several key annual indoor and outdoor events in order to make up for the shortfall.
Total appropriations for the year amount to $19,386,411.06, with $12,232,816.49 of that total expected to be raised through taxes. Those levies have been increased by $0.5284 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That means for homes with an average assessed value of $488,481, the tax increase will be $26 over last year.
Employee salaries, benefits and pensions amounted to 47 percent of the new budget amount. A cost-of-living increase of 2 percent will go to all borough employees not covered by existing union contracts. The commissioners passed, upon first reading, an ordinance that established the yearly salary and wages for those groups, retroactively effective April 1.
Also included in budget appropriations was nearly $3 million from a bond ordinance earmarked for nine separate borough projects aimed at remediating stormwater system issues.
Neither Commissioner for Revenue and Finance Jeffrey Kasko, nor his two colleagues, chose to directly address budget passage at the meeting. But language within the financial plan breakdown echoed sentiments he expressed at previous meetings and his fellow commissioners concurred.
The budget breakdown stated: “We believe this is a responsible budget that reflects the reality of current state fiscal requirements and the economic conditions facing all taxpayers. As always, we strive to provide the best possible level of service within financial constraints.
“While this is neither a perfect situation nor a perfect budget, we have made every effort to fund basic, necessary services at the levels supported by taxpayers and state law.”
Commissioners passed an emergency allotment of approximately $14 million in April as a temporary measure to keep the town afloat until a completed budget could be adopted.
A full budget breakdown can be found in the finance section of the borough’s website: http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/departments/finance_department/index.php.
Any questions regarding the finalized budget can be addressed to any commissioner or to Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news:
- In keeping with their ongoing efforts to address state-mandated affordable-housing obligations, commissioners authorized a tax exemption for two properties the borough recently bought to satisfy those requirements. Residential spaces at 129 Fowler Ave. (purchased Aug. 24) and 202 Haddonfield Commons (purchased Sept. 18) will not have 2020 taxes levied against them, nor preliminary taxes for 2021.
- The governing body also approved permits for three upcoming events, including a Friends of the Library yoga event at Library Point scheduled for Oct. 10 at 11 a.m., and a chicken barbecue fundraiser organized by the Haddonfield Lions Club on Oct. 17. However, Lions rep Deb Nussbaum later told the Sun that the event would be held back until springtime.
- Thanks to passage of another resolution late in the commissioners’ meeting, the borough can officially hold an auction of public property at the Public Works facility, 555 Centre St., on Oct, 17 at 10 a.m. On the block will be 27 bicycles currently in DPW possession.