Flemington Borough Council Tackles Budget and Community Projects

In a recent meeting, the Flemington Borough Council engaged in a review and discussion of the borough’s draft budget, which is set to increase by approximately $462,000 from the previous year. The proposed budget includes allocations for police department renovations, capital improvements, various equipment purchases, and a potential 3.9% property tax increase. Notably, the council deliberated on a shortfall in the police budget, the high overtime costs, and the debate over funding police equipment, including the purchase of additional cameras and police vehicles.

The budget discussions highlighted several concerns and proposed changes. The council considered potential cuts to address a $30,000 shortfall in the police department budget, with suggestions to reduce spending on police equipment. The debate extended to the necessity and timing of ordering new police cars and the associated costs ranging from $45,000 to $75,000. The sharp rise in police department overtime expenses led to suggestions that hiring additional officers could be more economical. The council also explored other departmental budget allocations, such as for the shade tree program and the safe and secure communities program, the latter seeing increased funding due to reduced state contributions.

The council addressed the overall allocation of funds, discussing contributions to the rescue squad, particularly towards a new rescue vehicle, while expressing concerns about reconciling numbers amid software conversion issues. They called for a detailed review of the budget and encouraged questions to clarify specific line items and expenditures.

In addition to the budget, the council considered a proposal to install a parklet in Court Street Park, in memory of a resident’s late wife. The proposal, backed by a generous donation, received positive reactions and will undergo a formal process, including public notice and a public hearing. The potential parklet is part of the council’s efforts to enhance public spaces within the borough.

The council also discussed the possibility of entering an agreement with Liberty Village before the public hearing and budget vote to meet state audit deadlines. They set a date for a meeting on March 5th to delve deeper into budget details and deliberate on necessary cuts. The budget timeline includes introducing the budget at the March 11th meeting and holding a special meeting for finalization.

Other topics of discussion included the impact of reduced court revenues due to the pandemic and the anticipated cannabis tax revenue. The council reviewed health insurance expenses and their impact on the budget, along with the rising costs of sanitation, property maintenance inspections, and the suggestion of promoting composting to reduce waste.

The meeting also touched upon community initiatives and developments. The council was informed about the opening of a new food pantry in Clinton Town and the passing of a local vet. Updates were provided on the pending survey for Li Village, progress on police building bids, and the need for more volunteers for the Museand board. The library is seeking a new snow removal contractor and is working on quotes for boiler and security upgrades. The planning board is developing a new checklist for developers, and the Historic Preservation Commission continues to update the historic map.

The council discussed the success of a recent NAACP event and the community policing initiative. The Flemington Community Partnership retreat and discussions with the Department of Public Works were also topics of conversation. Grants for business-sponsored events were considered, with the possibility of holding a Christmas or Holiday Market to attract visitors. Discussions on the allocation of funds for water tank improvement projects and applying for a grant for Morgan Park were also on the agenda. A resolution to approve taxi licenses was addressed, and an amendment to remove the mention of a sledding hill from another resolution was made and approved.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Marcia A. Karrow
City Council Officials:
Jeremy Long, Susan D.M. Engelhardt, Anthony “Tony” Parker, Elizabeth Rosetti

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