3 Year Budget Analysis
This is the top line projection for three years. (Click on the photo to enlarge.) The budget reduction is 8% down from previous year and by keeping the overall cost flat will decrease over 20% the following year. Since there are items coming in and going out it’s hard to know how this all shapes up but the backup to this will be available soon no doubt.
The City Council clearly recognizes the importance of their role in the process. And this is the beginning not the end of that process. Although people will suggest it is the State Fiscal Monitor’s role to be more aggressive, politically it doesn’t make much sense to expect her to push that with all the cleaning up of the mess left behind (we’ve heard only limited stories of how badly our records have been kept) and drive a new spending philosophy in town. This isn’t a bad starting point. It could have been better by a few million sure, but it’s the employee cost in town driving this and the status of the union negotiations were held in closed session. That will be problematic but that’s a statewide issue due to the arbitration process favoring the unions. The gravy train has been going on quite a while in New Jersey. “What’s in it for me” being normal in the culture of corruption. No one walks away from the dinner table when it’s always free, especially in New Jersey. Those folks show up in mass every election making sure they have the “free spenders” in office disbursing your money.
It came up last night that Mayor Zimmer sought reductions from each of her department heads. And the City Council is clearly looking to play a lead role as it should based on the governing rules of the Faulkner Act. We don’t know the details of the budget negotiations for police and fire and it’s been a pointed concern as we know the key people in City Hall don’t all agree, (from the rumors we’ve heard) but the starting point is here. And now there’s people who are actually serious about dealing with this. Really serious.
As we all know it’s the big albatross hanging over our heads that looms. The hospital is the virus that can put a big hurt on the efforts of a lot of folks. It would radically change everything including this three year budget projection should the worst occur.