Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick Posts on Last Night's Council Meeting

My work schedule is interfering with my time to post my Reporter's Notebook. But here's a couple of nuggets from last night's meeting. April 6, 2011
On Budgets and Property Taxes in Asbury Park
City Manager Terry Reidy:  the council was about to vote to rescind an earlier resolution to allow the city to hold a referendum - a public vote - to ask the public if it wants to raise the spending limit on the city's budget beyond the state mandated 2%.  Reidy explained that the City doesn't need a referendum to raise taxes, since it could raise them by 19% and still be within the 2% budget cap.
How can that be right? The City has many expenses that don't come under the cap limit: pension contributions, debt service on bond debt - long term loans the city takes out to pay for capital improvements, like roads and sewer improvements - don't have a 2% limit. This is why decisions to borrow money need to be really considered very carefully, because property owners have to pay it back with interest, no matter how high the amount owed gets up to.  So the tax money going to those payments doesn't get counted in the part of the budget subject to a cap.
How much is the State giving us in aid this year?
About $10, 375,000. 
How much more do we need?
$1.6 million  But the City can still look for more cuts to reduce that, otherwise it gets spread over the taxpayers.  Oops, back to work...
More later.

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