Lacey Township will receive flat state aid under Gov. Chris Christie's proposed budget, with total formula aid maintained at $11,273,840.
“Given the cut in aid in recent years I am relieved this trend has stopped,” Dykoff said.
But the committee does not yet know whether the township is in the black or red, Dykoff said. Dykoff also could not speculate as to whether cuts will be made or if taxes would increase.
“We will not know until the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) has incorporated all the numbers into the budget,” he said.
, the township faced a $3.2 million shortfall and raised taxes. For the average assessed house at $318,000, for the year and $6.32 per month.
Lacey will continue to work under the state mandated 2 percent tax cap. “I for one am not in favor of a referendum to exceed the 2 percent cap,” Dykoff said.
The township will be receiving $11,107,558 from the energy tax and $166,282 for the Garden State Trust, which decreased by $82,000 since 2010.
With the announcement of the in 2019, members of the committee were concerned that the state would continue to decrease their energy tax, which accounts for approximately 42.6 percent of their budget, according to Laureigh. In 2010, the state cut $450,000 from Lacey’s energy tax.
The department heads have submitted their budget requests to the township administrator who will work with the CFO to present a budget to the committee, Dykoff said.
“I have no idea right now what we’re facing,” said Administrator Veronica Laureigh, who was also glad to see the stability in state aid this year.
Each department head was given a spreadsheet in November, Laureigh said. The proposals they submitted include decreases, increases, promotions and capital requests.
“We will begin reviewing them as soon as they are presented to the committee which should be shortly given the fact that we now have the state aid figures,” he said.
Reform and Shortfalls
Lacey’s $11.2 million is only a fraction of Christie’s proposed municipal state aid total of more than $1.4 billion, which will help drive down the cost of local government and control property taxes along with a 2 percent tax cap and pension and benefit reform, Christie said.
“These steps are having a real impact in delivering budget relief to municipalities and finally bringing the property tax problem under control for our families,” Christie said.
Christie’s plan also calls on legislature to end payouts for unused sick days, promote shared services and consolidation and enact civil service reform.
“Just as we are continuing to advance reforms to deliver sustainable, long-term property tax relief, we urge local governments to continue finding ways to operate more efficiently and reduce costs through the implementation of Best Practices,” he said.
Pension and benefit reform would result in a savings to the township while Civil Service reform would enable better negotiations with unions, Dykoff said.
In situations like hiring employees, “sometimes (civil service) ties your hands,” Laureigh added.
The committee has been pushing to eliminate longevity for future hires when negotiating with the unions.
“The taxpayer can’t afford the hidden raises,” Committeeman Gary Quinn said. “We want to change the ways of the town for the future.”
If the township asks employees for givebacks, the committee should “lead by example,” said Kevin Flynn, township employee and member of the Flynn expressed disappointment that the committee would be
The culmination of the salaries could have been used for a new patrol car, he said.
The largest budgets are the and , Flynn said. As of September, the , just one more than in 1989. Two retires are expected this year, Flynn said.
“There’s nothing left to cut out of them… Public safety is supposed to be your priority. You’ve got to figure it out.”
When the police, public works and emergency services approach the committee with their capital requests, it is out of necessity, Flynn said.
“It’s not a wish list,” he said. “It’s the stuff the fire departments need to do their jobs to protect the people of this town.”
Barnegat has bonded for patrol vehicles. Although members of the committee do not favor bonding, the need is there, he said.
“The longer you go without purchasing this equipment, you put us deeper in the hole,” Flynn said. “The list gets bigger, and bigger and bigger. Just get it done.”
Lacey Township is in better shape than other municipalities, Dykoff said. “Understand that to buy something, we need to take something away,” he told Flynn.
Everything will be taken into consideration once the numbers are crunched, he added.
The first public budget meeting will be held during the next committee meeting on Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. CFO Adrian Fanning will have the budget books available, Dykoff said.
Another budget meeting will be held on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m.