2012 Budget – Your governing body started diligently working on this year’s budget in mid-January. Some measures we took in 2011 will accrue benefits in 2012, however, meeting the mandated 2% tax cap levy (excluding items such as medical and pension costs and debt service) will be challenging as most costs have increased from last year, some significantly more than 2%. Increased costs, an increase in tax appeals, contractual obligations, a decrease in surplus funds, all will affect our effort to minimize the impact on taxes. Saying that, I am committed to working with the Council to introduce a budget in March that will be within the 2% tax cap as well as having a minimal increase overall.
Major Projects – Major projects such as construction of the DPW buildings, restoration of the railroad depot and library addition and renovation are completed. We invite you on a walking tour of the aforementioned facilities on Sunday April 15 at 1:00 PM (date & time subject to change).
We will continue to prioritize road paving projects with several roads to be paved this year. A final determination on the roads will be made once bids are received and we know where we stand with our budget.
Past (Continued), Present and Immediate Future Tasks
· Police Consolidation - After several iterations and awaiting required approvals, we advertised earlier this month for proposals to study the consolidation of the Demarest and Closter Police Departments. Once proposals are submitted, both towns have 60 days to award a contract with the study to be conducted within 90 days.
· DPW Contract – We are currently in contract (expired Dec. 31, 2011) negotiations with our DPW union.
· Police Contract – We will soon be starting contract (expires Dec. 31, 2012) negotiations with our police union.
· Sustainable New Jersey – Passed a resolution to be certified through Sustainable NJ, a program that has goals of improving the quality and sustainability of a community and decreases costs. This ultimately makes Demarest eligible for private foundation grants.
· Recycling – Electronic and Metal recycling bins are to be in place at the DPW facility at the end of February. This will make it more convenient for residents to recycle these materials while generating additional revenue for the Borough and thus, its residents.
Quality of Life – Demarest is a wonderful community as are many communities nearby. We all expect our municipal taxes to provide operation and maintenance of our infrastructure (roads, municipal buildings, storm drains, sewers, etc.). Employees maintain our parks and fields, provide administrative services, and along with volunteers, provide public safety services. How can we distinguish our community from others? I would venture it is the small things that add up. Volunteering, maintaining our properties (home and yard – go to www.demarestnj.org and view a garden built and maintained by a homeowner, not a professional landscape firm), befriending and offering assistance to neighbors, keeping our public places free of litter (including timely removal of trash receptacles and newspapers ‘delivered’ onto our roads and driveway aprons), supporting our historic preservation projects and maintaining the ambiance of the community. On this last note, we will be working with our Historical Society to provide tours of historic sites throughout town this spring. We hope you participate in these tours and learn a bit more about your community and its past.
A little effort by all makes a BIG difference in a community! Thank you.