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Point Boro GOP Says They're Not Using Too Much Surplus

Republican council members defend use of most of surplus to avoid higher tax increase

The veteran Republican members of Point Borough Council say they have left enough money in surplus for next year and have adopted a sound budget.

Councilmembers Bob Sabosik and Toni DePaola are refuting Democratic Councilmember Chris Leitner's opinion that too much of the surplus was used in which may lead to a higher than necessary tax increase next year.

"We went over this budget with a fine tooth comb," DePaola said. "It's a sound budget. And I believe the town is left with enough surplus. That comes from tax dollars and the best way to use it is to give it back to the people. It seems silly to raise taxes even more when we're sitting on that money."

Sabosik said the new budget uses $1.2 million out of a total surplus of $1.364 million, which leaves $164,000.

Sabosik and DePaola both said that auditors from Hutchins, Farrell, Meyer & Allison, the new municipal auditor, said the town can anticipate generating about $1 million in surplus next year, based on expectations that the current tax rate of 96.7 percent will remain stable or even improve.

Leitner was the only no vote against the budget at the meeting on Tuesday night, when there was almost no discussion of the budget and no questions from any residents. The special budget meeting at lasted barely 20 minutes. Councilman John Wisniewski was absent.

Sabosik and DePaola said in separate telepone interviews on Thursday that they are confident there will be enough revenue generated next year to avert the need for a tax increase any higher than what would be needed otherwise.

Sabosik said, "The surplus is from money left over from the previous year. It should be used to help lower the tax rate. I disagree with Councilman Leitner's opinion that we used too much out of surplus. It's taxpayers' money. It should not be hoarded.

"I firmly believe that this is a conservative budget to keep taxes down as much as possible for our residents," Sabosik said. "I'm sorry Mr. Leitner disagrees."

Municipal surplus can also serve as a savings account to help pay for emergencies. When asked if the Borough will have enough surplus to cover an emergency, Sabosik said he believes it will, but that the council can also vote for an emergency appropriation or bond issue if it needs more funds.

"There are other ways to do it," he said.

When asked about how the town will cover costs for emergencies, such as a winter with heavy snowfalls, Sabosik said costs to handle plowing for a winter emergency would be mostly reimbursed by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds.

DePaola noted that . The town collects taxes for the school district and Ocean County, as well as for the town.

"Last year, we had to use school-deferred taxes to keep taxes lower. But this year we had surplus we were able to use," she said.

For example, after the tough winter of December 2010 into 2011, FEMA reimbursed about $86,000 to the Borough, he said.

The budget just adopted calls for the municipal tax bill on a home assessed at $300,000, which is the average Borough assessment for a home, is increasing from $1,146 to $1,212. The total municipal budget is decreasing from $18.4 million to $18.3 million.

The amount to be raised by local taxes is increasing from $12.5 million to nearly $13.2 million.That amount is only for municipal taxes and does not includes taxes for the local school district or for Ocean County government.

The Borough's tax collection rate has increased from 95.50 percent to 96.74 percent.

The budget will increase the municipal tax rate by 2.22 cents, compared to 2.16 cents as called for in the budget when it was introduced on July 2.

Leitner said after the meeting that he voted no because he is concerned about the majority on council using about $1.2 million of a total of about $1.3 million in surplus. He said the problem with using nearly all of the surplus is that if the Borough generates less surplus than expected next year, it will likely mean a larger tax increase.

"If you come up short the following year, then you have to raise taxes more than you would have to otherwise," Leitner said.

Regarding other aspects of the Borough's financial situation, DePaola said the council continues to look for ways to save money, including working with the local unions.

"The unions have been very forthcoming, taking smaller raises and paying more into their medical and pension benefits," DePaola said.

For example, she said, the local police union has agreed to a two percent raise over the next two years, along with revised starting salaries and salary increase steps. She said some details have to be finalized with the new, pending police contract before she can discuss the remainder of the terms.

Spooner August 06, 2012 at 02:54 PM
...as usual your Remig opinion is grounded in horse manure. . .and your comments about quid pro quo demonstrates political ignorance...for instance: the recent appointment of PPB asst. clerk...being related to Councilwoman Christine Tooker's boyfriend. . .What fantasy world are you living in! http://pointpleasant.patch.com/articles/point-boro-gop-blocks-bond-ordinance-to-fund-robo-cans
Tom Szymanski August 06, 2012 at 03:05 PM
It appears this year we are spending most of those savings, no argument there. Thank goodness, though the Republicans, last year refused to vote on bonding to purchase $800k for garbage trucks in order to hand garbage collection over to Brick. Remember when Mr. Leitner and Goss said, "When the trash is piling up in the streets, I hope the residents remember your vote?" Well none of those fear tactics came to fruition. The Republicans saw the light of day and saved this town $2.5 million dollars. I believe it was Councilman Sabosik who actually didand his research pointed out private contractors were coming in at an average rate of 18% lower state-wide than in-house/government run trash pick-up. I'm glad nobody folded and voted with the Democrats to merge with the soon-to-be defunct Brick DPW.
Laura August 06, 2012 at 03:27 PM
How exactly did the Republicans see the light of day? If the Republicans were in control that year, they would have never put it out there that they were looking for other options. That's what, ultimately, saved us money. Rogers, in her last year, was having talks with Brick about doing our garbage pick up. Toni stated she had been at those talks. The Republicans were in charge of the garbage contracts for almost 30 years. Did the contract price ever go down when they were in charge? Stop spinning and try the truth. Mitch Remig is now suckling off the taxpayers. How is he any different or better than the others you are railing against? If the Democrats had been in control for 30 years in the county, they would be just as corrupt. ROGERS UNDERFUNDED THE WATER/SEWER DEPARTMENT TO GIVE A 0% TAX INCREASE. How did that work for you? Another water/sewer surcharge to make it up. I do hope they are looking at charges against our former CFO. Oh, wait, the Republicans control the county, so that won't happen.
Spooner August 06, 2012 at 03:55 PM
In 2009 you supported the Democratic Council candidates Viecelli & Potter. . .In 2010, again you supported the Democratic slate of Schroeder, Goss, & Rusk. . .now it's back to being Miss Independent. . .What BS are you trying to peddle here! ...and speaking about Brick garbage: the Republicans were also talking about shared services with the Beach. . .in which you went over there to the Beach. . .and shot off your big mouth against!
Freetobeyouandme August 06, 2012 at 08:00 PM
It would help to step back for a minute and remember that increased tax collection stated in the article which were a large part of the surplus were for 2011 compared to 2010. Are 2011/2012 collections on pace with the improved rate? The other major factor was the reconstruction of the town's financial records. Neither of these factors directly relate to expense control. I think Mr Leitner's concern that the remaining surplus could be quickly depleted is valid. If the rate of collection has deteriorated, the town and its credit rating will again be vulnerable. Relying on surplus and borrowing deferred school taxes are no substitution for aggressive spending control. A line by line comparison of the last 3 budgets would be very informative.


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