Township Council Recap: Budgets, the Library—and $23,645 for Baseball Uniforms
Council will receive the 2012 budget on Friday
Along with the local campaign season comes budget season and, at Tuesday's council meeting, Township Manager Marc Dashield said he'd be sending his recommended municipal budget to council members on Friday, Jan. 13.
Dashield proposed that the 2012 budget be introduced on Feb. 21 with a final vote and public hearing held at the April 17 council meeting.
In addition, the council approved $23,645.16 for the purchase of junior baseball uniforms and equipment from Metuchen Center Inc.
At least one resident, Sue Ridley, said that seemed like a lot of money to her.
"How many kids play baseball? Seems like a great deal of money to spend on this," she said.
Pat Brechka, director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, said that about 500 youth are in the program.
"The registration fee is $100 ... that covers all the expenses ... this fee also covers umpire fees," she said.
Meanwhile, Dashield noted that last year the town was in dire straits when it came to the budget, forced to make dramatic cuts.
Last year "we really had to stop the bleeding that we had with this fiscal crisis," Dashield said. "And now it's time to stabilize the patient."
With various council members seeking re-election, one can expect that passage of the budget will be just as contentious as it was last year.
Already on Tuesday night, Ilmar Vanderer, a member of the Friends of the Bellevue Avenue Library group, stood to ask the council to restore some of the money previously cut from the library's budget.
The aim, he said, is to open the Bellevue branch more than one day a week. Currently the branch is only open on Mondays.
"I hope you will do the right thing," he said, referring to last year's cuts as "budget massacres."
The future of the Carnegie Foundation-funded building established in 1914 looked bleak early in 2011 when the Montclair Library Board of Trustees announced its closing on January 24 due to an estimated $800,000 cut in municipal aid.
Thanks to a massive fundraising effort by a group of residents—led by Vanderer and other concerned citizens—the library reopened on June 6 and has remained open every Monday with the help of dozens of dedicated volunteers.
The Montclair Public Library Board has asked the council to restore $418,000 in municipal aid, which would bring the library's total allocation to about $2,951,750. That is about $832,000 less than was allocated in 2009.
For more news from Tuesday night's council meeting, check back with Montclair Patch on Wednesday.