Washington Council Debates Budget Allocations for Town Services

The Washington (Bergen) Town Council recently engaged in a detailed deliberation over budget items for various town services, focusing on the necessity and cost-effectiveness of expenditures across different departments. The council moved to approve a $7,500 expenditure for public affairs printing, including flyers and banners for town events, while engaging in a debate over the cost and reduction of certain budget items.

A significant amount of time was dedicated to discussing the $7,500 approved for public affairs printing. Council members scrutinized the effectiveness of this budget line, considering the individual cost of road signs at $800 each.

The council also grappled with a decision regarding the allocation of $12,200 for public affairs archive social expenses. This expense was earmarked for the operation and information supply of the town’s Facebook pages, including volunteer-operated ones such as those of the fire department and library. The discussion was punctuated by a council member’s caution regarding potential legal changes that could affect this expense, prompting a motion to postpone the decision for a week to allow for further information gathering.

Another topic was the public affairs calendar expenditure, which was requested at $5,500. The conversation around this item was bifurcated, with some members advocating for the elimination of the physical calendar in favor of digital alternatives such as social media and the town website. Others defended the need for a physical calendar, especially among older residents who may rely on it more heavily. Questions were raised about the coverage of the entire expense through sponsorship money.


Additionally, the council unanimously approved a $9,000 expenditure for the videotaping of council meetings. Despite a brief mention of a historical server issue, the motion was passed without extensive debate. The WCTV cable television expenses were also approved with minimal discussion.

A $500 expense for a special emergency tax map provision was approved after debates about its necessity in relation to the reassessment program. In contrast, an argument over the Department of Law Consulting non-legal services retainer led to a proposal to reduce the expenditure to $1,500, which was seconded but failed to pass.

The council’s approach to budgeting was careful, as evidenced by their handling of the storm water management engineering fees. Noticing a discrepancy in the amount requested versus recommended, the council opted to table the issue for further review.


The Engineering Services budget sparked yet another debate, with the council members evaluating the necessity of the recommended $60,000 against ongoing projects that require engineering services. After a thorough discussion, the recommended amount was approved.

During the meeting, there were instances where previous budget decisions were revisited, such as the allocation for computer software and hardware. The council scrutinized these past allocations to ensure consistency and clarity in their budgetary approach.

The council also addressed employee appreciation and morale by debating the funding for a public affairs employee holiday party. Despite some members’ suggestions to reduce the proposed budget, the original allocation of $10,000 was maintained.


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.

Peter Calamari
City Council Officials:
Michael Desena, Steven Cascio, Tom Sears, Michael Ullman, Daisy Velez, KEN POLLER (Twp. Attorney), MARK DICARLO (Twp. Administrator), GLEN BECKMEYER (Twp. Engineer), SUE WITKOWSKI (Twp. Clerk)

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