2013 Budget – Preliminary discussions have been held regarding
this year’s budget. This year promises to be even more daunting than the last
two years due to decreased surplus funds, increased costs incurred from prior
years’ projects and the 2% tax cap levy. I am hopeful that the council finance
committee will have some estimate of the proposed budget by the time this
newsletter goes to print. As I write this (Feb. 11), we do not have a proposed
budget nor do we know what surplus funds are available to be used. As the vote
last year to exceed the 2% tax cap was overwhelmingly against, I am committed
to not having a referendum this year.
Consolidation – On November 6,
2012, Demarest voters supported
by a vote of 56% - 44%, the referendum to merge the
Demarest Police with the Bergen County Police. Demarest then prepared a
contract, with the applicable County and Demarest parties involved, passed a
resolution to dissolve the Demarest Police Department and introduced an
ordinance to merge with the County Police.
On December 28, the Bergen County Freeholders voted 4-3 not to merge the County
and Demarest Police Departments. This proposal would have saved Demarest
taxpayers approximately $400,000 per year while at the same time benefitting County
taxpayers and serving as a model for future shared services, not only in Bergen
County but across New
Jersey. Unlike other proposals to share services,
this merger was supported by both Police unions, the County & Demarest
Police Chiefs, the County Executive,
I and the majority of the Demarest Council; all concerned parties working
together. We are continuing to discuss options regarding the police department
as well as any other shared services that would result in significant savings
for our Borough residents.
Present and Immediate Future Tasks
Police & DPW Contracts – We are negotiating new contracts with
the Police and DPW unions.
Road Paving Projects – Last month, we sent letters to all the
residents on unpaved roads within the Borough in order to gauge their interest
in paving those roads.
E-Waste & Metal Recycling – Electronic recyclables (TVs,
computers, etc.) can still be dropped off at the North Borough parking lot by
the ambulance corps and DPW building (Wakelee
Drive). The bin for these items has been removed
but we are still collecting these items to be recycled. By law, these items
cannot be left at the curb for trash pickup, nor will the trash collector pick
up these items. As we were not able to generate enough metal recyclables to be cost
effective, the metal recycling bin has been removed and the Borough will no
longer accept metal at this location.
Group Home – Work has commenced on converting a home on Knickerbocker
Road for use by four adults with developmental
disabilities. The Borough’s Housing Trust Funds are being used to fund part of
the purchase and renovation of this home.
RailRoad Station – We continue to look at the possibility of
renting out the station as a café or for other purposes. Consideration of our
seniors, Historical Society and other organizations that use the station will
be considered in reaching a decision.
110 Serpentine Road House - We are working on resolving
the issue of selling this property and getting this property back on the tax
rolls and eliminating the carrying costs to the Borough. We must consider the requirements
in the original purchase agreement.
Most importantly, thank
you to all the volunteers who helped us in 2012; members of the fire
department, ambulance corps, CERT, the many boards and commissions and those
involved with our athletic program. Your time and willingness to serve for the
betterment of our town are greatly appreciated!