Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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Council Introduces Budget Amendments, Adoption Next Week

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Council considered its surplus funds and approved proposed amendments to its budget plan for 2011 at its meeting last week. While the Borough budget has grown 3.4 percent from last year to approximately $25.67 million, the document proposed contains no increase in municipal taxes.

Administrator Robert Bruschi explained that since staff was tasked with creating a budget that involved no increase to residents, they focused on reductions in expenditures in order to achieve the goal. “The Borough government is not using any more tax dollars this year than last year,” he pointed out.

How best to utilize the Borough’s surplus in future years came under consideration, with both Mr. Bruschi and Council members noting the need for sustainability vis-à-vis replenishing the surplus.

Council member David Goldfarb pointed out that by using the slated amount of surplus, “there is a structural three-cent increase in this budget that is offset by the capital improvement. It is certainly justified, but we can’t do this forever.”

Mr. Bruschi suggested that keeping municipal expenses low, and growing other revenues would be essential to maintaining a healthy surplus.

In 2009 and 2010, approximately $2.8 million has been available in operating surplus, with about $800,000 used the the subsequent budget year. Mr. Bruschi said that “we are positioned to have $2.8 million again next year,” since monies would be coming in from unexpended balances pertaining to the 2010 budget, miscellaneous revenues, receipts of delinquent taxes, and a few other sources.

Regarding capital surplus, the Borough had approximately $4.67 million available in 2010, and is using $2.19 million for capital projects. Capital surplus is usually replenished through grants, reimbursements from the Township on joint projects, and the cancellation of prior authorizations.

Mr. Bruschi estimated that the replenishment of the capital surplus may be a million dollars, but would likely be less. If the capital surplus is utilized at the current rate, he suggested that the municipality would be able to delve into the surplus for about three years before it is exhausted.

“We do need to start to wean ourselves from this process,” Mr. Bruschi acknowledged.

Council President Kevin Wilkes noted that the parking utility in the downtown, made up of the municipal garage and meters would be bringing in increased dividends next year.

The amendments to the 2011 municipal budget were passed unanimously. Council member Roger Martindell was absent.

The final public hearing and adoption of the 2011 municipal budget is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall.

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