Small Departments Within Budget for End of Year
During a mid-year budget review, the smaller departments in River Edge are all set to stay within budget this year.
For the majority of the departments within River Edge, the 2012 tight budget year has not caused any problems so far with all but the police and DPW presenting a mid-year budget review on Monday night showing they are within budget. Both Police Chief Thomas Cariddi and DPW Superintendent John Lynch will provide their budget updates in July.
The $14.2 million budget called for cuts across all departments this year following revenues decreasing by 5%, a significant increase in the Bergen County Utilities Authority and emergency costs for Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm.
And one department after another echoed the same words, "the budget will carry me through the year." Although Library Director Daragh O'Connor and OEM Coordinator Tom Smith had some concerns.
"We're on target, operating at 4% less than last year, but our personal budget is barely adequate and we are vulnerable to closing some days if several people all call out sick," O'Connor said. "Its happened once already. It's not a budget problem, it's I can't get someone last minute to work."
According to O'Connor, in 2010 the library moved to a schedule with two employees on at a time instead of three to help save money. But if one person is ill, the library can't remain open with one employee on site to cover the circulation desk. His second concern is the lack of funding being set aside for purchasing books.
"My hope in the future is to tackle that problem," O'Connor said. "We are a net-borrower to the extreme. River Edge has to borrow more books from other BCCLS (Bergen County Cooperative Library System) libaries than we're loaning out. We're more dependent today than we used to be on borrowing books."
Smith, who has been the borough's OEM coordinator since April, stated that unless there are any unforeseen emergencies his budget should get him through the year, but his biggest expenses will be upgrading 25 radios to narrowband frequencies and the maintenance of several generators in the borough. All generator maintanence costs are expended through the OEM budget line.
"All the radios need to be updated and that did not happen for the OEM ones," Smith said. "I'm in the process of getting quotes but I don't know if the $800 to $900 in the budget will cover all of them being done. There are 25 radios, most of which are for CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) during a search. If it's not done, then they wouldn't be able to communicate during a search or with the base station."
The remaining departments, Recreation, Finance, Tax Collection, Courts, Construction, Fire Department and Borough Clerk are all within their budgets halfway through the year.
"Our main expense will be sending notices for delinquent taxes through the end of the year," Tax Collector Maureen Murphy said. "There may be additional mailings for the Homestead Rebate as well."
Fire Chief John Mauthe will be purchasing replacement turnout gear and a new thermal imaging camera within the next few months, while Recreation Director Bobbi Conway will be overseeing the installation of a memorial bench.