July 2011

This year your Mayor and Council have overcome the challenge of adopting a budget that falls below the mandated 2% tax cap levy. By doing so, we were able to avoid going to referendum and risking defeat of the municipal budget as well as the school budgets - each of which could have had substantial adverse impacts on all.

In order to accomplish this, every area of the budget has been reduced, There have been furloughs, positions eliminated, no salary increases for non-contractual employees, operating and maintenance budgets reduced and contracted services eliminated. The salaries for the Mayor ($2,000 annually) and each Council member ($1,500 each annually) were eliminated for this year.

During budget deliberations this year, the funding amount for the "Celebration of Public Events" (Memorial Day, 9/11 Remembrance and Demarest Day) was reduced, but not eliminated. This was a unanimous vote by the members of the Council and although I do not vote on these individual items, I did support this measure in order to help bring our budget within the 2% tax cap. Having said that, there is still funding for these public events and there has been and continues to be discussion of having a Demarest Day in some form. There have been occasions when funding was short, some residents have voluntarily stepped up and contributed financially toward Demarest Day.

At the June 27 Mayor & Council meeting, we asked the members of the Municipal Alliance Committee who are tasked with this event to investigate all options regarding Demarest Day. After the June 27 meeting I suggested to our Police Chief, who is a member of the committee who organizes Demarest Day, that he place a message on the electronic sign at the duck pond asking if any residents would be interested in assisting the committee in regard to Demarest Day.

Is Demarest Day a tradition? Perhaps not yet, although all traditions have to start at some time.

Is Demarest Day enjoyable for those who attend? Absolutely!

Does Demarest Day take quite a bit of organizing and work? Yes, something that Borough employees and residents have been willing to take on in the past.

Despite the fiscal constraints we are under, Demarest Day has not been canceled. Actions are being taken to see how we can still have Demarest Day, perhaps with some modifications and hopefully with more resident volunteers. Saying this, I would like to invite you to a:

"Meeting with the Mayor",
July 11
7:30 PM
Borough Hall
Main Topic - Demarest Day

This type of meeting in an informal setting can give you a chance to voice your concerns and put forth your suggestions without the formality of an official meeting. I hope this type of get-together can become a periodic event, a listening 'tour' if you will.

I look forward to meeting you on July 11 and hearing your comments, suggestions and even constructive and respectful criticism(s) (if warranted). I stated in the November 2010 Borough Newsletter as Mayor-Elect, that I would reach out to residents in an inclusive and open way. I feel I have done just this, starting with my appointments made to the various commissions, boards and committees in the Borough. I will continue to work in the best interest of all of Demarest, realizing I cannot possibly make everyone happy. With almost every decision, there are some who will be dissatisfied.

Thank you for your time and consideration and past support.

I hope to see you on July 11 and look forward to a constructive dialogue.

Please invite any other Demarest residents concerned about Demarest Day to this meeting or if they have any other issues they would like to raise.