The Municipal Budget (letter 1 of 3) – Successes and Failures/Proposition 2 1/2

This letter addresses the status of our current 2010 budget and the governor’s proposal of an inflexible 2 1/2% cap on property taxes in 2011.
First, the good news. This year’s budget represents a sea change in the way we “do” government in Montclair. Last year, several of us on the Town Council made an unsuccessful attempt to cut costs by restructuring departments and changing the way we operate but the former Township Manager was not up to the challenge. This year, under the leadership of Marc Dashield, these changes have become a reality. This restructuring includes closing a department, up to twenty layoffs, and shifting personnel in several areas, steps that will lay the foundation for reduced costs for many years. If done in 2009, we would have been in far better shape going into this year’s budget.
Even with these changes, our huge revenue shortfall and cuts in State aid have forced us to increase the portion of our taxes used to fund Municipal services. The total tax increase will end up being around 6%, a painful number. The Municipal portion of this will be around 10%. Because of cuts in our State aid and other revenues, along with huge increases in State-administered pensions and heath insurance, your Municipal taxes would have gone up 8% even if we had kept our spending FLAT.
The savings from keeping spending FLAT would have been less than $100 on the average bill. This, however, would have decimated services, endangered public safety and closed many more departments than the one slated for closure.

Last week Montclair was granted a waiver that allows us to levy this tax, which exceeds the 4% tax levy cap imposed on municipalities. This increase will be about $400 on the average tax bill, which will increase a little over $850 when the School and County Taxes are included. Fortunately, the waiver will allow us to maintain basic services for the remainder of the year. It does illustrate for me how devastating the proposed 2 1/2% cap would be on Montclair. Property taxes ARE too high in New Jersey. Local governments, however, are not the main culprit in Montclair’s woes.
We are doing a lot this year, changes that will help in the future. Although some would tolerate more cuts in services and funding for institutions many think we’ve cut too deeply already. I believe a 2 1/2% cap would have endangered public safety while also seriously impacting basic quality of life here.
Here are the main areas in which some residents have suggested further cuts:
‚Ä¢ Police – We are several officers below the level that allows us to do “Community Policing”, which includes a number of services in which police patrol visibly and interact with the public. Ideally, the Council would like to restore this but we accept the need to keep expenditures down.
• Fire РBecause the force size depends on fully staffed crews rather than individual firemen, our choices are either to take a truck out of service or close a firehouse. The Council considers this a last resort and accepts the guidance of professionals that such actions would prevent us from confidence that fires would have the response that State guidelines demand. We also do not want to jeopardize the almost $1 million arrangement in which we provide fire protection for Glen Ridge.
• Library РThe current cut is likely to be around 11-13%, severely curtailing services that had been increasing even with years of frozen or reduced budgets.
• Recreation РFull and part-time staff cuts have already reduced pool hours and scaled back town events. Most programs are run by volunteers but administered by township staff.
‚Ä¢ Early Childhood Education – It’s likely that a cut will be made in the range of 15-20%, all of which would go to scholarships for lower income families.
• Sanitation РWe need two scheduled pickups of some kind (waste, recycling, etc.) to avoid overtime costs. Outsourcing trash might save a few dollars per year but has not been recommended in the past because of the possibility of increased costs or decreased services because of cutting staff who are used in plowing, storms, and other occurrences. This is something we will be looking at as an option in the coming year.
This is just a partial list, and I’m sure there are other ideas that could produce savings. We are doing many things differently this year and there are many ideas on how to restructure local government, particularly in the area of shared services. A team of staff and Council members has been meeting regularly with other towns, the County, MSU and our schools to work on this and there are quite a few initiatives in the works. Montclair is inevitably the advocate; we’re eager to pursue shared services. Most of the work is convincing other towns that it’s in their best interest to do so.
Many of our Unions are working with the Township through accepting furloughs and other measures. I am hopeful that accommodation can be reached with all the unions so the Township can achieve the necessary savings and be able to continue to provide the service that these employees make possible. If this type of reasonable compromise cannot be reached, we will be in the unfortunate position of having to lay off some good workers.
One way or another, we will all experience cuts, whether they be in pool or library hours, reduced municipal services or in funding of education and the arts. At the same time, the Council has no choice but to raise taxes to preserve public safety and a reasonable quality of services residents expect from Montclair. I believe that we have struck a reasonable compromise and that further cuts would hurt more than they would help.
Ultimately, I hope we are able to pull together as a community and weather the storm of reduced services and increased taxes. The low-hanging fruit has been picked.
With so many residents suffering job losses and salary cuts, many have been willing and able to pitch in to help get us through this budget crisis. Our 4th of July festivities will go on, largely because of the contributions of the public and our outstanding accomplishment of winning the Liberty Mutual contest, proving our civic involvement and dedication. Many have volunteered their time and talents as part of the Staycation Montclair initiative to provide free and low-cost activities this summer including this Saturday’s June 19th 12-4 concert and pot-luck picnic at the MHS amphitheater which will feature great local bands such as the Reticents and others. A new Montclair Music and Arts Festival, featuring music by Richie Havens and work of local visual and performing artists, will be initiated on July 24th and will be funded by contributions from local businesses and residents. For those who can afford to make donations, these events will offer opportunities to help the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence fund important programs in our school system. Those interested in working on such initiatives can contact Cindy Stagoff at cstagoff@comcast.net
We will also need the help of the “Friends of….” different parks, youth groups such as the Boy Scouts, the YMCA and other non-profits and volunteer groups that operate here to help keep our township clean, vital and healthy this summer.
There is no question in my mind that we have the resources to thrive in spite of the historic economic crisis. I believe that further cuts in aid and radical measures like Proposition 2 1/2 would severely damage Montclair.
Coming in Part 2: Who to Blame

58 replies on “Mayor Fried’s Statement On Montclair Municipal Budget”

  1. “This year’s budget represents a sea change in the way we “do” government in Montclair. Last year, several of us on the Town Council made an unsuccessful attempt to cut costs by restructuring departments and changing the way we operate but the former Township Manager was not up to the challenge.”
    Just so I know, for how many years going forward are we going to blame the former town manager for all of our current problems?
    Cary Africk
    2nd Ward Councilor

  2. Huh?
    Huge budget shortfall and he’s writing about the silly Staycation Montclair initiative?
    A serious letter should not have the phrase “pot-luck picnic” in it. Unless someone got food poisoning.
    Sadly, me thinks it is the residents of our fair City who’ve been poisoned.
    Oh, well. Just bill me. I’ll pay like I always do…..

  3. The former Township Manager had nothing to do with the BOSE, of which the Mayor is a member, gave the BOE carte blanche on their budget.
    He also wasn’t around when the present Council wanted to buy a senior center and a parking lot for the police.
    But, just wait. The next installment is titled “Who to Blame”. I hope the Mayor has a mirror handy.

  4. Blame?
    Well, you want to start with “the economy.” I hear it’s the worst since the Great Depression. (“… in this economy…”)
    Then BUSH. He’s to blame for everything, all the time. Just throw his name in: “… 8 years of Bush…”
    And since November, Christie has taken his place along side. So, in the Garden State we can always scream “… Christie’s budget cuts…”
    You can mix and match these—
    “After 8 years of Bush, in this economy, Christie is making cuts that force our town to make these choices.”
    Or
    “Christie’s cuts, in light of 8 years of spending under Bush and now with the worst economy in our lifetime, we have no other choices.”
    THAT’S blame!!!

  5. Howard,
    Don’t forget the South Park Streetscape that In Nick Lewis’ words, “We should do it right (expensive) or not do it at all.” Or the $23,000 fence at the playground. Or the $680,000 to now be closer to 2 million dollar quiet zone.
    What is it mayor? Public safety or quality of life? As someone who likes to compare what we are doing in Montclair to every other municipality in NJ, I look forward to Fraud explaining why we were only 1 of 30 or so communities out of six hundred and change to be require a waiver to maintain Public safety.
    There are really only two options left. Either recall Fried and his 4 lap dogs, or keep the incredulous BS coming for another two years until Cary and hopefully some other fiscal controllers get elected. Cary was the most decisive victor in the last council election, just wait until the next one. The constituents of Montclair want fiscal responsibility. It’s just outrageous that Fried, Terry, Lewis, Weller don’t get it.

  6. PAYGO!
    Double your cuts and please please please stop trying to frighten us with this repeated BS about public safety. The 2006 election cycle is over, you are not Karl Rove and you will not frighten residents into sympathy for your inability to make the difficult cuts we need.
    Lives will be in danger if we close a pool or fire someone at the parking authority! What?

  7. The mayor already got a waiver to increase 6-10% this year, so why is he against enacting a 2.5% cap for the future? He must plan on making 4%+ increases a regular occurence.

  8. And the privatization of sanitation and other services excuse Fraud gives is a giant crock of poo. Plain and simple, he is afraid to lay anyone off. He is obviously wealthy enough to quit his job to play the role as mayor. This is why he does not understand what it means to be asked to continually fork over and extra $1,000 per year when one’s salary has not seen an increase in four years and one’s benefits have been decimated. Add the 25% increase in commuting costs and new government fees for everything under the sun and staying in NJ, let alone Montclair is nearly impossible.
    Last year at one of Rene Baskerville’s 4th Ward community meetings, I asked our mayor why he was so satisfied with an increase of 4.5%. He claimed it was a triumph as it was significantly lower than that of the prior (lame duck) council’s increase which was around 6.5% (if I recall correctly). This year, he will top that 6.5% for which he was so proud to have beaten the prior year. When I asked him how he could be so triumphant over the size of this year’s increase when reminding him that he is no different than his predecessors on the town council, he offered this brilliant reply…
    “It is my opinion that commentators like yourself need to learn more about our budget situation before you assume you have the “correct” perspective on this issue. This year is not “business as usual” and our 14+ layoffs are not a continuation of past policies.”
    The revenues are DOWN Fried. What this means is that we can’t afford to maintain our bloated budgets of yesteryear. Correct perspective? Apparently, pleasing the municipal workers is much more important than pleasing the constituents. Correct perspective my hairy butt.

  9. I am startled at the difference between the Mayor’s flabby rhetoric and the rhetoric of our flabby Governor. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) This passage is what really gets my blood boiling:
    The Municipal portion of this will be around 10%.
    An absolutely unconscionable increase.
    Because of cuts in our State aid and other revenues, along with huge increases in State-administered pensions and heath insurance, your Municipal taxes would have gone up 8% even if we had kept our spending FLAT.
    Which, by the way, they didn’t do, even as a gesture.
    The savings from keeping spending FLAT would have been…
    Note the conditional tense.
    …less than $100 on the average bill.
    That’s a lot of money for an increase on top of an increase that gets compounded forever.
    This, however, would have decimated services, endangered public safety and closed many more departments than the one slated for closure.
    You opened this letter by making yourself out to be the champion of cutbacks, touting the cuts you made that the previous town manager wouldn’t allow. Which is it?

  10. Why is anyone even posting a response here. The mayor clearly views the internets, just like a BOE meeting to be a one way pushing of selected information out. Not a thoughtful back and forth exchange with the people he is supposed to represent.
    Just open your wallets and shut up.

  11. “Don’t forget the South Park Streetscape that In Nick Lewis’ words, “We should do it right (expensive) or not do it at all.” Or the $23,000 fence at the playground. Or the $680,000 to now be closer to 2 million dollar quiet zone.”
    All those things were/are supported by councilor Africk too. Why does he get a “pass” stu?

  12. To the nattering nabobs of negativism. We get it! You don’t like Jerry Fried’s governance of the town. We read about it on a promotional piece about a volunteer concert and picnic staffed by volunteers. We read about it when the township received a $10,000.00 grant for July 4 festivities. It hardly seems to matter what the news item is; it’s open season on the Mayor, and all anyone has to do to elicit a sarcastic guffaw from any of you is to write the word, “bike”. Ha, ha, ha. Really, you’re all the verbal equivalent of the people who speak loudly on hands-free phones as they shop at the grocery store. You might be speaking sense, but you sound like a bunch of psychos.
    There will be municipal elections again in 2012. Please, run for office. Start your campaigns now. Announce your names. We all know what Jerry Fried looks like. We know what Cary Africk looks like. Let’s see your faces. Start a pre-campaign fan page on Facebook. We’d really like to see who you are!
    Professor Williams: maybe a “pot-luck picnic” is a silly thing to mention in a mayoral statement, but look at it another way. It’s a celebration of municipal spirit; a project that came to fruition from the efforts of many volunteers, organized with great skill by Cindy Stagoff, who resides in Councilor Africk’s district. She solicited support from local businesses, from Outpost in the Burbs, from volunteer musicians, and from other residents. Just as herberverschlemiel (or whatever his name is) was welcome to attend last night’s Pride Event at Temple Ner Tamid, you and the other nabobs are all welcome to attend the Potluck Picnic. I hope that you will. It’s free, and it should be fun. If you’re not coming, don’t announce it with some snarky comment designed for your amusement alone. Just don’t come.
    Walleroo, you’re not one of my targets in this letter, for a few selfish reasons. First, you’re pretty funny. Not 100% of the time, but you consistently manage to make me laugh. Second, I can’t attach your Baristanet name to a face, but I’m pretty sure that I know you. You had nice things to say about my son’s band, Tromboner, years ago, and you complimented my band, The Reticents (yes, the same band that’s playing tomorrow), one time right here on Baristanet. Based upon something you wrote after the Jersey Shore/501 Lounge debacle, I think that you have kids who are in SVPA, so you must be doing something right. And third, anyone who names himself after a gardening hat can’t be all bad. Still, all in all, I don’t understand why you don’t identify yourself. I’d respect your criticism of the Mayor much more if I knew who you were.
    Ciao. My real name is Bob Mellman, a/k/a on Baristanet as…

  13. Feh! Bob. You’re all wet.
    By 1784, the same governor of New Jersey, William Livingston, was at work writing anonymous articles that defended the right to publish anonymously as part of the freedom of the press. Under the pseudonym “Scipio,” Livingston wrote several articles attacking the Legislature’s failure to lower taxes, and he accused a state officer of stealing or losing state funds during the British invasion of New Jersey. Responding to the allegations, the officer called upon Scipio “to avow your publication, give up your real name.” (S. Tucker, To Scipio, Mar. 2, 1784, The New-Jersey Gazette.) Livingston replied with a four-part series defending “the Liberty of the Press.” Although Livingston at first defended anonymity because it encouraged authors to discuss politics without fear of reprisal, he ultimately invoked the liberty of the press as the guardian for anonymous political writing. “I hope [Tucker] is not seriously bent upon a total subversion of our political system,” Scipio wrote. “And pray may not a man, in a free country, convey thro’ the press his sentiments on publick grievances … without being obliged to send a certified copy of the baptismal register to prove his name.” (Scipio, On the Liberty of the Press IV, Apr. 26, 1784, The New-Jersey Gazette.)
    https://www.constitution.org/ussc/514-334b.txt

  14. Bob,
    I really don’t need to defend myself here, but if you look at the July 4th grant, I did issue Kudos. Likewise, I am easily identifiable. Simply attend a town council meeting and you’ll often find me ranting about the same issues I cover here.
    If you don’t like what some of us have to say here, then please skip over the posts. Unfortunately, if I don’t like Fried’s decisions, I can not simply skip over paying my tax increase.
    I think it’s great that you volunteer your time and offer you praise for your efforts. Unfortunately, this does not nullify my opinion of Fried’s decisions and opinions about how my money should be spent.

  15. How do you know that posters who are anonymous here aren’t already known to people around town, don’t already run for office, attend meetings, volunteer for this, that and the other thing? You are making a lot of assumptions, Dr. Robert. How do you know, for that matter, I’m not the bass player in your band? (I’m not, by the way.)
    At any rate, thanks for the compliment. I often wonder if anybody beyond a few weirdos and miscreants appreciates my so-called sense of humor. Assuming, of course, that you don’t fall into that camp.

  16. Dr. Robert,
    I didn’t say about thing about HAVING the event, just the priorities of the Mayor to mention it in a letter that “addresses the status of our current 2010 budget and the governor’s proposal of an inflexible 2 1/2% cap on property taxes in 2011.”
    It doesn’t say:
    “This letter is about how the evil doers led by Bush and Christie have turned this into the worst economy in our lifetime, but together we’ll make it through because of our communal love as evidenced by our POTLUCK PICNIC.”

  17. I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Robert. I get very tired of all of the bashing and would love to see more constructive ideas from readers. I appreciate that Mayor Fried will post information like this. The pickle we are in is more complicated than one mayor’s ideas. For readers that have some concrete ideas, they should take them to a Town Council meeting and get our government to hear them.

  18. ROC,
    I’m not sure why I answer you, but in my defense of Cary, I don’t think every capital purchase proposed should be immediately dismissed. Had the Quiet Zone (extension) truly costed $680,000, I may have supported it. I did not, since I knew it would cost closer to 1.5 million as I ran an estimate at the FRA site. Not sure why we are not suing the consultant who came up with the original estimate for his fees back.
    The Streetscape which Cary supported based on the fact that the cost of paving, which we will need to do either way, is almost 90% of the cost. A small increase to throw in a few benches and to reconfigure the parking alignment is not a terrible spend, especially if it improves the ratables in the area. Unfortunately, I would bet that the Streetscape will turn into another 2 million dollar spend before it’s done.
    Ultimately, if I had my choice between someone willing to spend $1.50 of my money on questionable needs or someone willing to spend 50 cents, I would go with the latter.
    ROC, you are so black and white on spending that some times I question if you even ponder need?

  19. A woman is frustrated with her love life because her husband had a massive crush on Brigitte Bardot. To win back his attentions, she goes to a tattooist to have the letters ‘BB’ tattooed on her breasts.
    The tattooist warns her that age and gravity would probably make this unattractive later in life, and suggests the tattoo on her buttocks instead. She agrees, and bends over to receive a ‘B’ on each buttock.
    When her husband gets home from work that night, she greets him by turning around, bending over, and lifting her dress to expose the artwork.
    “What do you think?” the wife says.
    “Uh, who the heck is Bob?” the husband replies.

  20. I just think it’s telling that the very items you bludgeoned the Mayor with and councilor Lewis were ALSO supported by Africk. So now suddenly it’s a different calculation and some things are necessary. Necessary when supported by some you like and a “Fraud” when the very same thing is supported by someone you don’t like?
    Well, uh, ok then.
    Cary supported the street scape when it was “only” $750,000. “Strongly supported” was his very words on this site.

  21. Not every spend promoted by Cary I support ROC. But I am also not so thickheaded to ignore that if he takes your position on every decision, he will have only one supporter in the community. This would render him completely ineffective. I did notice that you conveniently left out Cary’s emphatic non-support of the community center and the police parking lot. I’m done arguing with you over this. The issues are never black and white.

  22. The pickle we are in is more complicated than one mayor’s ideas.
    Yes, exactly. He’s in over his head. That’s why he should resign.

  23. I am begging to have my services cut and will continue to malign mayoral municipal mismanagement because every minute spent on other initiatives is time misspent.

  24. stu,
    not in anyones defense but, all projects unless they are public safety involved should be put on hold no matter what. people will make decisions because it makes sense in the long run to have a better looking town which attracts more business an pushes demanded for residency. ie. south park st
    but in your owns words, and mine, and many others the town is 220MM in debt. the debt service pay could pay for millions of dollars worth of programs. i can agree we should carry debt, but 220MM. no matter the project, the need or consideration, non essentials(police, fire, education, and selective public works) should be where all the revenues are spent on. extra revenues should be put towards large principal payments until the debt and debt service are at a reasonable level. and yes maybe like cary says, hire a consultant that can tell us where that number should be. i would venture to guess between 40-60MM with a debt service payment under 5MM
    adding debt to the non operation budget, which is increasing yearly due to the rising costs of pensions and salaries anyway, we force residents to pay more, more, more out of their pockets for what councilors think will be better for the town in the future.
    they have lost the focus on the now!
    if the mayor thinks the economic crisis is happening or happened, then all efforts should be focused on the current state of the municipality.
    i can not wait for election season dr. robert!

  25. {Cary’s emphatic non-support of the community center and the police parking lot. I’m done arguing with you over this.”
    You didn’t mention those! It’s great that Cary didn’t support those. I’ve said so before.
    I just think it’s interesting that what you chose as egregious examples supported by Mayor “Fraud” (you words) were also supported by Africk.
    Someone you are praising in the same breath.

  26. Your Dear Leader should apportion some of his budget for mandatory mass public Pilates workouts in your bounteous town parks.
    That way, you guys can learn to bend over and love it.

  27. I have room in my basement- reasonable rent- for the first five of you who are taxed out of your town.
    Pay me $100 more per month, and I’ll toss in all the dog food you can eat and yard privileges for 12 minutes a day.

  28. I’m going to gather my investor pals and buy all the outstanding tax certificates in Montclair.
    I smell opportunity!

  29. Any truth to the rumor that “I live in Montklair” will be listed as a symptom for which any NJ doctor can prescribe medical spliff?

  30. Clotty, why not write ONE post containing all 4 of your delightful witticisms, rather than four separate ones.
    This way, we won’t be left breathless with anticipation for the next installment.

  31. Having unqualified people trying (?) to govern isn’t at all funny.
    And it should NOT be made funny. It’s sad that we can’t do any better. We have the wrong people in more than several key positions and they seem to feed off each other and make fools of the us. They dig our hole deeper while solidifying their various expensive fiefdoms.
    If we do not move to remove these people then ‘we have met the enemy and they is us’.
    Any actual leaders out there?

  32. …maybe a “pot-luck picnic” is a silly thing to mention in a mayoral statement, but look at it another way. It’s a celebration of municipal spirit; a project that came to fruition from the efforts of many volunteers…
    Or, it’s a way to beg taxpayers, who shell out 60% of their escalating property taxes every year, to give even more money to the schools.

  33. I meant Montclair.
    The school district takes an overwhelming majority of our property taxes, and then the folks in charge of approving the district’s budget decide that’s not enough, so let’s hold a bunch of fundraisers, market them as a chance to take a cheap vacation, then hit up the poor saps for cash for the “poor” schools.
    Here’s an idea: how about the superintendent and the top administrators give back some of their salaries this year? That should raise more cash than a pot-luck lunch.

  34. “Here’s an idea: how about the superintendent and the top administrators give back some of their salaries this year? That should raise more cash than a pot-luck lunch.”
    Add to that all the other higher paid administrator and staff and we might even have a no increase budget.

  35. Far be it from me to defend Alvarez and his bloated staff, but I wonder how many outraged posters know that he has foregone his contractual raise for the last two years, and I wonder how many of those posters would do the same?

  36. Can’t change now. Too many of you have been brainwashed. You have a town gubmint of feelings, not laws.
    The fact that Montaklair puts up with what essentially amounts to gubmint-sanctioned indentured servitude to a tax bill is proof that the tipping point was reached long ago.
    Only fix available to you is to refresh the tree of liberty.

  37. cro,
    Some of us know. But don’t care since the BOE “asked” the teachers to forgo raises and contribute to their health insurance (this happened to some of us on a State level too).
    So, while it’s good to see some “shared” pain, it doesn’t negate as you say, the bloated- AND HIGHLY PAID- staff.
    On a personal side, having been to the BOE a few times, most of the fools there (support staff mainly) are the grumpiest, meanest, most unlikeable folks to deal with– I say fire ’em all… Really, I compare this to the wonderful folks at the Essex County building on Bloomfield Ave in Verona.

  38. Since Montclair now has a open dialog from the mayors trip there. I say lets start off the trading. We will trade mayor Freid for a Chinese mayor.

  39. prof, I won’t dispute your characterization of the support staff (by and large). That’s been my experience too.
    However, the “request” for 1.5% towards health care came from the state, not Montclair.

  40. 1. Passing a 10.4% municipal increase is simply not acceptable and will prove to be political hari kari. Perhaps if the Council had a budget committee, they would have made the time to dig into the numbers and find more dollars or at least done the analysis on the pros and cons of the big ticket items – Do we need three firehouses? Do we need three pools? Should we privatize garbage pickup? Should the uptown library be closed for a few years?
    2. The last Council offered to make some deeper cuts in our last budget to give these folks a running start and some political cover – the offer was rejected.
    3. Perhaps they should not have gone for the cap waiver – take the bullet at 2.5%. and I’m shocked at how readily the state gave out some of these waivers.
    4. Don’t blame the managers – this one or the last one – they take direction on these budgets from their Councils.
    I don’t envy the position this Council finds itself in – this is a brutal year and any final budget is going to be painful but you don’t always get to pick your fights or the things you have to focus on.
    Ed Remsen

  41. Ed,
    I used to rip your council and their out-of-control spending frequently. In retrospect, compared to this group of out-of-touch progressives who think biking, solar, wind power and trade with China are the key to Montclair’s future, you guys were tight-wads.

  42. $850 this year. On top of the $600 last year. On top of the $800 the year before. That’s $2,000 for the “average” household. So next year, when there is also no cap we can be sure to expect at least another 4%….but probably more, and all this is compounded. If you were paying $14,000 two years ago, you’d be paying roughly $16,300 so if next year’s increase is as low at 4% that’s about $17,000. S3,000 in 4 years is a lot for the average household. Since taxes are already high, and the percentage compounds, if there aren’t any zero tax increase years at all and we even get to cap at 2.5% we’ll still be far ahead of any other municipality in terms of what we pay. With a downtown business district, 3 other shopping areas and a college, there is something is very wrong if we can’t be in line with other towns.

  43. Jerseygurl,
    It’s our public safety. Even though the police chief presented a wonderful report showing crime lower than ever and trending downward in Montclair, they will still receive a $550,000 increase to their budget line. Christie’s cut in aid was $700,000. But don’t worry, Mayor Fraud will blame Christie anyway because he does not seem to care about math. Especially when it comes to capital spending. Credit downgrade? Who cares? We NEED a senior center and police parking lot.

  44. you guys were tight-wads
    Didn’t the town run up much of the $100 million in short-term debt Mayor Ed’s watch?

  45. “Didn’t the town run up much of the $100 million in short-term debt Mayor Ed’s watch?”
    Good point Walleroo, the graph that was posted on Baristanet a while back clearly showed that most of the debt was compiled while Ed was on the council and/or mayor.
    I am trying to find that graph now.

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