Good news - Matawan received $100,000. in aid. We asked for $300,000. (an undisclosed source advised the Advocate that the real amount we applied for was $500,000) but we only received $100,000. Now our long overdue budget can be adopted. Kudos to the CFO for doing a great job. There is a lot of paperwork involved in this process and it is to the CFO's credit that we received any money. This will reduce the tax hike a little. With this additional State funding our tax rate increase will be approximately .09 cents instead of 0.11 cents. However, there was a discussion at the council meeting that individual line items can be increased or decreased by 10% after we received the additional state aid. Hmmmmm Councilman Cannon also mentioned that this year's increase is below the 2006 increase which was approximately 0.15 cents in 2006. So between 2006 and 2007 Matawan residents may see a comined increase of 0.24 cents. It should be noted that since 2005, the Matawan budget has increased by approximately $1,400,000. That's right folks, an increase of $1.4 million!
Last night's meeting was long so we will try to give the condensed version.
Councilman Cannon brought us up to date on the Redevelopment plan stating that he will be having a meeting at the end of this month. Nothing can be shared until the lawsuit appeal brought on by Silver Oaks Developer against Matawan is dismissed. But at least when it is finally resolved we can make progress. Providing all Council Members agree on Redevelopment. It appears there is dissension among members. For the last year and a half we have not heard what the vision for redevelopment is from Councilpersons Mullaney, Mullaney, Malley and the Mayor. It is time to hear from them. Councilwoman Burragina has mentioned it is her opinion that without Redevelopment we are in trouble. I agree. Without Redevelopment of the Train Station area Matawan will become a quaint small town that used to be. Our property values will go down the tubes. Just in case you doubt what was said, look around the Borough, have you ever seen so many For Sale signs. As long as we keep our heads in the sand and ignore the obvious problems we will have no one to blame but ourselves when the Borough go downhill.
Councilman Cannon also announced problems at the Matawan Water Plant with several alternatives that are to be considered. He also mentioned several ways in which the Borough could be saving money, like shared services, banking services.
Councilwoman Mullaney mentioned that there is a "Green Acres" grant program available. She suggested we have someone look into this grant. Curiously enough there was no mention of the purchase of the $1900. laptop by Councilwoman Mullaney. She is the Chairperson for Finance, Education & Personnel Committee. As her significant other is a Matawan Police Officer, she cannot vote on personnel issues or any Police Dept issues. Now as a supporter of our Police Department, don't you think these brave police officers deserve better than a Councilperson who can't vote. As the Police Department is a big ticket item on the Budget, that make her ineffective? Councilwoman Mullaney may be a nice person, BUT who appointed a person with no credentials to speak of to Chair such an important Committee. One guess.....that's right...Mayor Aufseeser!
On the upside - Councilman Buccellato announced that after hearing the plight of the Clinton Street Park he stated he got a contractor to donate his services and a distributor of roofing products to donate materials to repair the Clinton St. Park roof. Buccellato stated that labor will be provided to paint the fence and property at Clinton St. at no expense to the taxpayer. Kudos to Councilman Buccellato! Now that's what I call working together for the common good.
Councilman "Bud" Mullaney was not in attendance last night, however, I am sure he will be pleased to hear his wish for the Clinton Street Park has been granted. Mayor Aufseeser announced that Councilman Mullaney had been in a slight car accident and would not be in attendance. Glad to hear it wasn't anything serious. Hope to see him at the next meeting.