Skudera: Council should have ’08 budget in hand

Council members want time to study boro spending plan


TINTON FALLS – Borough officials discussed the lack of a budget at the Feb. 19 council meeting.

Council President Mike Skudera brought the subject up during the miscellaneous business segment of the meeting.” About the budget,” said Skudera to Mayor Peter Maclearie, “I’m wondering when we can get it.”

Maclearie responded that he was unable to develop a budget without all of the necessary state information.

“It isn’t prudent for me to put a budget out there without getting all of my [information] from the state,” Maclearie said.

Skudera questioned this, listing about a dozen other municipalities that had already introduced or were currently introducing their 2008 budgets. Additionally, many of those municipalities had those budgets posted on their Web sites.

According to Skudera, last year’s budget was distributed just five days before the council had to introduce it by law.

“The introduction date was only five or six days away,” said Skudera, “and we actually got the budget on the day of the meeting.”

Maclearie responded that compiling the budget was especially challenging this year because of the borough’s recent revaluation. He repeated that he still didn’t have the information that he needed from the state.

“You look at any of those towns and see how many of them just went through a reval,” Maclearie said. “I’m not going to rush into it.”

“I want the budget given to council when it’s due,” Skudera said, “because last year I was given the budget to introduce at that night’s meeting.”

Director of Law James E. Berube Jr. didn’t think that the state would be able to impose any dates on municipalities without providing the figures for state aid to them.

“The state has very important figures,” Berube said. “They would have no right to enforce the date.”

Councilman Gerald Ford spoke of his experience working with school budgets while on the Board of Education’s finance committee. He said that the budget was always developed under the assumption of getting the exact same amount as the previous year.

“Once the figures do come in, we can adjust,” Ford said, “and that’s really my recommendation to develop the budget. And I know it causes more work, but I think that in the long run it actually makes for a better budget.”

Councilman Brendan Tobin said that Tinton Falls was by no means the only town that is behind in introducing a budget.

“I can tell you that budgets are a disaster all over the place,” Tobin said. “The budget is in flux in different places all over.”

Councilman Gary Baldwin was cautious of having a budget before receiving all the necessary figures.

“I can tell you one thing, I don’t want to spend time going over the interim budget with that being changed,” Baldwin said. “I just don’t see the value if it’s not complete. Some very substantial things are missing.”

Skudera stressed the importance of having the budget in time for the council to discuss it.

“I believe that we should all get the same info at the same time, so that way we’re on the same page,” Skudera said. “All I’m looking for is for us to get info on the budget. I don’t have anything right now on the budget, and I want to make sure the council will be able to go through it in enough time before the state mandates that we have to finish this budget. As of today they had not pushed back their dates … so the date is a month away, so I want to make sure we have time.”