Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Follow Up Borough Council Mtg 9-16-08

Residents of Matawan came to the Council meeting seeking help with the recent escalation in their tax bills due to the revaluation. Property taxes for older homes have gone up tremendously, forcing residents to call upon the Borough Council for aid. Problem is the revaluation was forced upon Matawan by the County. People concerned with losing their homes to foreclosure and worried as to how they will pay this huge increase filled the audience.

The Borough Council responded with passing a 4% increase for all Borough employees who are not part of a collective bargaining agreement. Residents were also informed the Labor Attorney and Borough Administrator will begin negotiations on the Police Dept. (PBA) contract. Borough Council has already passed the new Chief of Police's contract, along with the Lieutenants contracts.

Mayor Buccellato requested the Appraiser for Matawan to be present to answer questions from the residents. Due to the sinking economy, revaluation appraisals (which were done prior to the economic downfall) residents are finding themselves in the position of high taxes and lower home values. In some cases taxes tripled.

Residents asked the Council to cut the Budget, which the Council does control. However, it fell on deaf ears. It's an election year folks and the Democrats have done very little to cut expenses. The Mayor has repeatedly asked for the Council to come up with a way to cut taxes to no avail. At a recent meeting he went so far as to asked all the Department Heads to find a way to cut 10% of their respective Budgets. We have already seen the Borough cut down to a four day work week in order to cut costs, the results of which aren't in as yet.

But don't worry the 2008 increased Road Program will have repaved streets in Matawan. So when we become a bankrupt Borough we at least will have paved streets for the moving trucks to drive on.

It is increasingly disturbing to hear the Council give increases to employees, spend money on engineering fees, expand the Road Program, attorney fees, Recreation Dept., new computers for the Police Dept, etc. Will someone tell us how this helps with the ever-increasing property taxes? Not that these expenses aren't needed but are they life threatening? Could they not wait until next year or perhaps spread some of these items over the next few years. The way it is now the Mayor's idea to plan ahead for the coming years budgets will remain just an idea. How long can Matawan begin the new year with a deficit?

On several occasions we have heard Council members say the infrastructure has been neglected. It is true. Previous Administrations have not wanted to increase the municipal budget as the School Budget was growing rapidly. Perhaps this was not a good decision. That does not mean that this Administration has to correct all the poor decisions of the past in one year. Doesn't anyone get it? The economy is in the dumper, we are dealing with a deficit of $400.000. for medical. What other items on the Budget are we over-extended on? What about gasoline? People are losing their homes and jobs and our Borough Council wants to make Matawan pretty.
Priorities need adjustment.


Anonymous said...

With the increase in the price of gas, food, education and utilities, families have had to make due and live within their budget. Perhaps the borough concil doesn't know what fiscal responsibility is? You can't spend what you don't have. When times are tough, you need to reprioritize and budget accordingly. You cut out anything that isn't essential. If you want to have parades and town events, perhaps there should be corporate sponsors from local business instead of taxpayers funding these things. There are wants and needs and the borough council doesn't seem to know the difference. As far as the medical insurance deficit goes, perhaps alternative plans should be explored, perhaps something with deductibles and higher copayments. As a taxpayer, why should we help pay for a plan that is better much than our own? Bad enough we're contributing to their generous pensions. Most of us are not even fortunate enough to even have a pension plan. We contribute quite a bit toward our insurance premiums and we have deductibles on those policies and we have to fund our own retirement - which is a little hard to do with the increase in gas, food, education and utilities and the skyrocketing taxes!

matawan advocate said...

Agree wholeheartedly. The Council has terminated the previous Health Ins. Broker and has a new Broker looking into better alternatives with added savings. Once again a day late and $400,000 short. Why didn't the budget reflect increased costs for Medical? Poor management.

Never in the history of Matawan have we seen a Council with total disregard for the very people it purports to serve. Unfortunately, the Democrats have the majority and do not have the ability to govern prudently. This is not a political statement, it is a fact.

Being a resident in Matawan for many years we have never heard or seen such dischord amoungst the Council, Recreation Commission, or Borough employees.

We need Council members who will be held accountable for their actions.

Keep this in mind in November. Do you think Matawan needs a change in the Borough Council? If yes, then vote appropriately. Only you can make the difference!