$40 million township budget OK’d

WEST MILFORD. The local tax levy is about $22 million, about the same as last year.

| 22 May 2024 | 04:37

The Township Council unanimously approved a 2024 municipal budget of about $40 million - with no local tax increase - at its meeting May 15.

The local tax levy is about $22 million, and the library tax is $1.4 million.

The 2023 municipal budget was about $37.3 million with a local tax levy of about $22.2 million and a library tax of $1.3 million.

The council also approved a solid waste budget of $3.4 million and a $5.9 million bond ordinance to finance various improvements. The improvements include road work, the purchase of vehicles for the police and public works departments, the purchase of radio and communications equipment, reconditioning of an ambulance, and improvements of the bathrooms at Bubbling Springs.

Mayor Michele Dale said West Milford was awarded a $250,000 grant for the purchase of a street sweeper.

The Highlands Council approved a $15,000 grant for the redevelopment study of the property at 301 Marshall Hill Road.

In addition, the township sold a “D” liquor license for $251,000 to New Vineland Corp., owner of Uncorked Wines & Spirits, 9 Marshall Hill Road. That money will support a local business’s expansion in West Milford, the mayor said.

The council approved an ordinance setting a salary range of $45,000 to $145,000 for a deputy township administrator.

It introduced proposed ordinances that would:

• Add fees for transportation services. The one-way fare would be $2 effective July 1, 2024, and $3 effective July 1, 2025.

• Change local law to permit garbage and recycling pickups at churches, which the township has done historically.

Public hearings and final votes on those will be June 12.

Council members voted to table the introduction of a proposed ordinance that would increase the fee for short-term rental permits to the June 12 meeting. The fee would go from $500 a year to $1,000 as of July 1, 2024, and to $1,500 as of Jan. 1, 2025.

Township Administrator William Senande recommended that a committee be created to prepare for the next phase of the state’s affordable-housing process. The committee will include two council members, two members of the Planning Board, the township attorney and the Planning Board attorney.

Film-ready township

Senande also said West Milford is taking steps to become a film-ready community in a program administered by the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission.

He and Councilman Dave Marsden attended a workshop for municipal officials, and they are uploading information about local sites and businesses to the state database for production companies.

He expects West Milford to be on the list in September.

Bob Nicholson of the WM77 TV Commission is seeking volunteers to film various events for the online channel during the busy spring and summer. “It bothers me that we can’t accommodate these requests because we don’t have the manpower,” he said.

Many events are during the day, which may work for retired people, he noted. The people filming events are not required to join the commission nor to attend meetings.

The public access channel is an entity of West Milford. It is not funded by the cable company, Nicholson pointed out.

Councilman Michael Chazukow said the township is seeking quotes for the cost of exterior siding, painting and repair of the West Milford Museum.

Councilman Kevin Goodsir said the summer concert series at Bubbling Springs will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays starting June 27 with a performance by Whiskey Crossing. Food will be available for purchase.