Board of commissioners introduces 2021 budget

Appropriations increase; homeowners on track to see slight tax increase.

In sharp contrast to last year, when budget introduction and finalization was severely delayed by the pandemic, Haddonfield’s Board of Commissioners on April 13 approved the introduction of the plan for 2021.

As outlined by Commissioner for Revenue and Finance Jeffrey Kasko, total budget appropriations for this year are expected to be $20 million, an Increase of approximately $669,000 over last year. 

“Those increases are primarily due to debt-service payments, the municipal- election costs we have this year. We have one extra pay week; 53 weeks that’s an added cost. Our trash pickup costs are going up as part of the contract with Waste Management,” noted Kasko.

“We do have a significant capital outlay this year, and we have some costs for animal control that needed to be increased, and some pension contribution line items.”

Kasko pointed out some reductions in the budget, such as audit expenses and  costs to operate the information center, as well as costs relating to the positions of senior citizens coordinator, recreation coordinator and tax collector that were necessary due to a number of factors. 

Of that overall $20 million, $11,793,000, is expected to be raised through taxes, representing an increase of $365,000 from 2020. For the average property value of half-a-million dollars, Kasko estimated a $50 increase from last year’s tax assessment. 

“I just want to add there’s a capital plan attached to this,” he added. “Our capital plan this year significantly makes investments in road construction, in parking- meter replacement, police equipment, building maintenance. And of course we’re also continuing the stormwater and drainage projects that we did by ordinance last fall.”

Second reading and public comment on a finalized budget is not expected for at least another four weeks, no sooner than May 11. A full summary can be found by visiting: http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/departments/finance_department/index.php.

In addition, a cap bank was also approved via another ordinance. The legislation allows municipalities to extend the budget amount from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent over the previous year’s total. According to Kasko, passage of this legislation does not necessarily mean the borough will exercise that right. 

A second reading with public comment is expected at the commissioners’ next public session on April 27.

In concert with the budget resolution, council also approved the first reading of a non-union salary ordinance, fixing wages for a portion of borough employees not bound by collective bargaining agreements. Kasko and Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough confirmed the raise would be 2 percent over the previous year,

In other news

  • A trio of proclamations saw council recognize April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, April 22 as Earth Day and April 30 as Arbor Day.
  • The triumverate also authorized the advertising of sealed bids for the 2021 roads program, as well as for stump grinding services.
  • Via another resolution, council approved the following appointments to Haddon Fire Company No. 1: Joseph Pearson, Declan Carthy and David Barrigan.
  • Commissioners also consented to a pair of public events: a Girl Scout cookie booth on April 17 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as a film screening sponsored by the Haddonfield Theater Arts Center for June 19 (rain date June 20).