New Town Council makes municipal budget a priority


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  • Photo by Ann Genader New Town Council president Tim Wagner has asked for a "cost efficiency audit" for all township departments.



BY ANN GENADER

A priority topic for the newly seated Township of West Milford Council is the 2018 municipal budget.

The effort being made to come in with a zero increase for taxpayers is also continuing.

Township Administrator Antoinette Battaglia has asked Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ellen Mageen to be prepared to speak and address preliminary budget and capital budget issues for the governing body at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The preliminary budget discussion is expected to include library funding, community services and recreation registration fees, the administrator said at a recent meeting.

Mayor Bettina Bieri said the library project came in under budget so there are available surplus funds that need to be addressed.

Council President Tim Wagner has asked for a “cost efficiency audit” for all township departments. His proposal said that potential bidders to do this job would be required to do an analysis of costs for each department.

“We could elect to do all the departments – or only select a few – depending on the cost,” said Wagner. “Only one bidder came forward so far. However, if we only chose to study the cost of just the Department of Public Safety and Department of Public Works, for example, whatever price tag comes in would drop.”

Wagner said he believes the cost savings would outweigh the cost of audit and is confident that there are other bidders who will come forth seeking the challenge when they learn of it.

He said the administrator, as directed by the council, extended the time for the search. Proposals are now due by Friday, Jan. 26.

“The goal is to hear about potential for new cost savings and to initiate a new approach to township operation,” said Wagner. “Preferably a firm that has both municipal and private sector experience will accept his challenging task. I want this to happen before we enter serious budget discussions.”

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