The Cedar Grove Township Council began its annual budget hearing Monday night under the tutelage of Cedar Grove Township Manager Thomas Tucci, who guided the council through the first half of the budget items.
According to a recent Star-Ledger report, Cedar Grove had the lowest municipal taxes in Essex County in 2012, a fact not overlooked by Tucci and members of the township council.
“Cedar Grove has the lowest local tax rate in the county, but we cannot rest on last year's laurels, every year stands on its own” said Tucci. “This year we will try to achieve that goal again and do the best we can for our residents.”
According to the Star-Ledger report, the average municipal tax in Cedar Grove is $1,853, well below the $3,942 average Essex County municipal tax.
The first of the hearings on Monday night presented figures for various items in the budget, including recreation, finance, tax collector and assessor, council, manager, clerk, library, health department, public buildings and other areas.
Tucci said they are trying to save some money by trimming down a little bit in each category.
“It may not seem like a lot in each of these line items, but incrementally when it all adds up is as an effect,” said Tucci.
The most notable difference between the 2012 and 2013 thus far is the savings of $36,785 for the Cedar Grove Free Public Library.
The budget calls for cuts to internet services, heat, power and light based on the actual numbers from last year, said Tucci. The budget also saves in costs for maintenance, cleaning services and computer repairs.
"The library director looks at every line item fresh every year with the library board of trustees and they are cutting it where they could while maintaining the same level of service," said Tucci.
The council will continue its budget hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at town hall with capital improvements, municipal court, police, fire, ambulance and rescue squad, engineering, streets and roads as well as several other categories.
The first half of the 2013 Municipal Budget Appropriations are as follows:Category 2012 2013 Increase/ Decrease Recreation Department 229,840 229,884 44 Celebration of Public Events 10,975 10,975 0 Finance Department 149,395 149,717 322 Annual Audit 25,080 25,580 500 Tax Collector 77,511 77,658 147 Tax Assessor 81,608 86,670 5,062 Township Council 10,804 10,704 -100 Township Manager 156,268 156,268 0 Legal Services 126,863 136,863 10,000 Prosecutor 19,140 19,140 0 Public Defender 5,170 5,170 0 Township Clerk 118,278 118,486 208 Elections 27,502 26,285 -1,217 Public Library 804,470 767,685 -36,785 Health Department 107,251 108,784 1,533 Animal Control 24,323 27,072 2,749 Senior Citizen Transportation 61,992 62,301 309 Public Buildings and Grounds 93,464 93,296 -168 Planning Board 30,706 30,700 -6 Zoning Board of Adjustment 27,866 27,866 0 Building Inspector 192,992 198,651 5,659 Plumbing Inspector 17,786 17,786 0 Electrical Inspector 17,786 17,786 0