1/9/2010 - A Monthly Message from Mayor Paul Medany
As we enter the year 2010, Township Council, again, faces many challenges in operating local government. However, regardless of the strength of the economy, we must continue to improve services while keeping spending in check. Property taxes represent the local government’s main source of revenue. Some of the increased costs include a 16% rise in healthcare costs alone this year. The Township is now responsible for paying 100% of pension contributions for our employees, which totals approximately $900,000.00. These are just a few examples of the costs and funding tribulations we are experiencing.
The Governor has imposed state mandates on municipalities to which we must comply. Unfortunately, the state does not fund the mandated programs. As taxpayers, you should know what programs like COAH (the Council on Affordable Housing), stormwater management, pension contributions and binding arbitration – just to mention a few – cost taxpayers directly. Township Council must incorporate the mandates into our annual budget. Additionally, state aid has been cut to practically nothing. This is important because these cuts were from funding that we received from the state in past years, and as a result of the cuts, the Township is now forced to incur the costs.
Since 80% of our local budget is fixed spending, the administration meets weekly to look for areas to make cuts and increase savings in spending. Through the strenuous economic downfalls, Township Council has done an excellent job controlling costs. Deptford has the third lowest overall property taxes of the twenty-four municipalities in Gloucester County. We also have an excellent ratable base, and the administration has been successful in areas such as incorporating shared services, securing grants and using technology to reduce operating costs.
Our goal is to keep you informed of the budget process as we do our best at the local level to control property tax increases. Mayor and Council believe in open government and we appreciate input from the community. Join us in doing “little” things like recycling and the Cut It and Leave It program (mulching grass clippings) to help reduce costs. Everyone can play a role in maintaining safety in the community by obeying the speed limit and participating in neighborhood watch programs. Still want to do more? Become a volunteer in one of our many organizations.