Solving the bloated budget issue is not as difficult and overwhelming as the TC and many other folks seem to think it is.
One of the key methodologies for running a financially successful enterprise whether it be a service business or a municipality, is to first identify the enterprise’s best financial benchmarks conforming to acceptable quality services provision.
When first moving to Cranford between ten and eleven years ago the Township’s services provisions quality then were at least equal and most probably superior to what’s being provided currently, yet the property taxes were half what they are now.
That costs ramped up so swiftly in such a short period smacks of financial mismanagement or worse.
Now for the investigative “accounting maneuver” leading to budget corrections mentioned previously:
First Step: Beginning with the 1999 and 2000 budgets and annual (FY 1999 Jan-Dec) financial statements, each statement’s expense and revenue line items should be spread in an excel worksheet
Second Step: The Township’s lasts annual financial statement and proposed budget should be spread in parallel columns with conforming line items lining up for comparison purposes.
Third step: Determine the current “black holes” and most wasteful expenditure line items that exist compared to the 2000 Township budget and annual (FY Jan – Dec 1999) financial statements’ line items.
Fourth Step: Identify the correct financial costs benchmarks, especially line items costs % to tax revenues, line item by line item, that worked very well for us in the past. Then, using the positive benchmarks learned from the prior exercise, create the financial tactics and strategies that will the bring the Township’s line items’ numbers and correlative cost percentages back into line, line item by line item.
Fifth Step: Publish the comparative financial statements; highlighting especially those line items where we went wrong over recent years, in order to justify proposed tactics/strategies (published simultaneously) intended to bring the necessary adjustments to sell it to an informed Cranford citizenry to buy into the proposed hard decisions. (It would be difficult to believe that Cranford taxpayers wouldn’t be extremely interested in receiving such a report)
Sixth Step: Announce a televised meeting discussion re the fifth step’s published documents, including a public comments meeting portion. If possible, make a conclusive vote on it much the way most Planning or Zoning Board sessions conclude.
THERE SHOULD BE NO MORE PROPERTY TAX INCREASES UNTIL WE ALL HAVE SEEN AND KNOW WHERE AND WHY THE TOWNSHIP COSTS HAVE DOUBLED IN SHOULD A SHORT TIME. YOU CAN BET AN ARM IF ITS LAID OUT FOR EVERYONE AS OUTLINED ABOVE … WE’LL BE ALBLE TO STRIP DOWN OUR COSTS REAL FAST WITHOUT REDUCING SERVICES AT ALL!