Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 51
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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Salary Range Set, No Net Increase in Borough Spending

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Council unanimously introduced an ordinance fixing the increase of municipal employees’ salaries at a maximum of 1.5 percent for the year at a recent public meeting. However, all municipal employees have contributed 1.5 percent of their salaries to go toward their own health benefits this year, creating no net increase in borough spending.

Administrator Bob Bruschi noted that the last salary ordinance was adopted in 2008, and that the current one covers a few years worth of raises “that may not have been calculated in the last ordinance.”

Changing job descriptions, combining positions, leaving vacant positions open, and layoffs has resulted in overall savings for the Borough, Mr. Bruschi reported. For instance, the current ordinance details employees’ total compensation, including base salary, as well as longevity and overtime stipends pertaining to police officers.

The ordinance also “provides for up to a two percent raise next year,” Mr. Bruschi said, though he pointed out that any raise or increase in Borough spending would be discussed vis-a-vis the 2011 budget.

Councilman David Goldfarb observed that in the union contracts that have been in negotiations, the salary increase for municipal employees belonging to unions “did not exceed 1.5 percent,” adding that “every employee in the borough is required to pay 1.5 percent toward healthcare costs.” He thanked Mr. Bruschi for voluntarily agreeing to take no more than a 1.5 percent increase for 2010 as well, despite the fact that his contract with the municipality allowed for a higher increase.

Roger Martindell, also of Borough Council, thanked Mr. Bruschi for his contribution. Remarking that “there are significant outlays for our chief earners,” whose salaries range from $147,000 to $180,000 per year, he reminded Council that “it’s expensive hiring other people. When we go promote people up the chain, it costs money. There’s no escaping it.”

In other news, Council certified the annual audit report, with Mr. Goldfarb, who also sits on the Finance Committee, saying that “the conclusion I have drawn from this year’s audit is that the Borough is in better financial shape than it has been in some time.”

Mr. Goldfarb credited Mr. Bruschi and CFO Sandra Webb for addressing past issues brought up by the auditor, and implementing measures to correct them, thanking them for their responsiveness to the requests of Council. Controlling spending, increasing surplus, and being responsible in Borough borrowing are all features that put the Borough in a good financial position, he suggested.

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