Budget season begins

| 25 Jan 2019 | 09:54

By Charles Kim
WEST MILFORD – The annual budget planning season officially began Wednesday night during the Township Council meeting.
Budget consultant Bob Casey outlined the process for council members and presented a preliminary capital budget.
Casey said the more than $5 million capital budget proposal would need to be whittled down to between $2.5-$3 million.
The council will next hear from each of the departments, who will justify their requests in the plan.
After the capital budget is determined, the council will then tackle the general budget in the same way.
According to Casey, the general budget should be ready for a March introduction and finalized by May.
The capital plan he presented Wednesday night includes a variety of equipment and infrastructure projects requested by the departments.
Some of the requests included $250,000 for restrooms at Nosenzo Park, three dump trucks costing an estimated $570,000 for public works, $50,000 to upgrade the electrical system at town hall, $107,000 for the roof at the Recreation Center, and more than $1 million in road resurfacing and other engineering projects.
Casey said that while some of the numbers look big, especially for items like replacing fire trucks and other heavy equipment, the township will likely end up spending the money anyway as older equipment wears out.
He said it would be better to put the township on a path where they replace these types of items on a cyclical basis every so many years in order to even out the expense.
The township will issue bonds for these expenses.
Casey said that some of the items on the list could be funded by either grants or matching funds from the county and state.
Many of the items, he said, have been moved from year to year based on the council’s priorities.
As far as the general budget goes, Council President Pete McGuiness said the council is targeting another year of a “zero” increase.