Washington Town Council Scrutinizes Budget, Tables Key Items

In a recent Washington (Bergen) Town Council meeting, attention was devoted to the 2024 budget with particular scrutiny on allocations for office supplies, postage, training, and computer services. The council engaged in discussions and made decisions on various line items. Notably, the council voted to reduce the postage budget by $700, impacting the distribution of township calendars, and considered a $300 cut in office supplies. Discussions were also robust around the necessity of budget reductions in areas such as books, subscriptions, and travel expenses.

The meeting featured debates on the appropriateness of budget practices, including the reallocation of funds between accounts and the potential need for end-of-year transfers due to shortfalls in certain line items. A member raised concerns about borrowing from other accounts when funds were insufficient. The budget for trophies and plaques to recognize community members was a point of contention, with varying opinions on the funding amount. Similarly, opinions diverged on the allocation for council meetings and conferences.

A motion to reduce miscellaneous expenses by $50 led to a split vote, revealing the council’s varied stances on budget austerity. The admin computer service software, server expenses, and update or replacement of computers were discussed, with a request for a schedule of expected obsolescence and the number of computers needing replacement. Concerns were raised about the annual maintenance fee for the Electronic Ordinance Document Environment (eode) and the number of voided checks issued by the township.

The council scrutinized the allocation for extra council meetings and the Township Clerk’s budget for office supplies, dues, and conferences. A motion to reduce the Township Clerk Office Supplies budget by $200 was approved, and a decision was made to table the discussion on an increase in the Township Clerk Dues Meetings and Conferences budget for further review. The council agreed upon an annual maintenance amount of $450 for Township Clerk Office Equipment Repair, approved a reduction of $50 for Township Clerk Marriage Typen, and tabled the item for Township Clerk Copy Fees pending invoice review. The recommendation to maintain the Township Clerk Code Publication budget at $7000 was discussed, with a suggestion to lower it to $5000 and potentially include codebook codification changes in a financing plan; the item was tabled for further consideration.

Election budgets, specifically for ballots and miscellaneous expenses, were evaluated with queries about primary and general election fund allocations. The council also debated the Finance department’s budget for treasury office supplies and the reduction of allocated amounts for meetings and conferences.

The Finance Treasurer’s requests, including furniture and equipment, payroll services, and training, were all approved as recommended. However, the discussion about the Financial Services fee and the $37,000 audit services request was tabled due to concerns over potential conflicts of interest and a need for additional information on the associated fees.

Finally, the council planned to schedule future meetings with department heads to further clarify their budgetary needs and concerns.

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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