The Bloomfield council unanimously approved a resolution introducing the 2017 budget at their March 27th council meeting.
Prior to the vote, Township Administrator Matt Watkins described the budget as “financially flat” at approximately $80 million. He said the amount was just 0.25% higher than the previous year, resulting in a tax increase of less than 0.5%. Watkins stated that operating expenses will be down -6%. He said that the utility budget included funds for improvements being made to the water system, including water looping, cleaning lines, and exercising hydrants and gate valves in order to ensure good water quality.
Mayor Venezia added that the tax increase would translate into an annual tax increase of just $15.96 for the average homeowner, just under the increase for the previous year. The public hearing and adoption of the budget will take place on April 24, 2017.
Venezia also said there will be a PowerPoint presentation of the budget at the upcoming April 3rd conference meeting, which will be broadcast on Channel 35. In a Facebook post the following day, the mayor reminded residents that the Municipal budget accounts for 38% of residents’ tax bill (County and Board of Education taxes make up the remainder).
The meeting began with the appointment of Firefighter Duncan Arlett, who was sworn in by Mayor Venezia.
The mayor and council also issued a proclamation honoring Benjamin Contella for over 40 years of volunteer service in Bloomfield, including 28 years on the Bloomfield Recreation Board of Commissioners. He was presented with a key to the Municipal Park System.
The governing body also issued three other proclamations, declaring the month of April as Autism Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, and the week of April 9-15, 2017 as National Library Week.
Alicia DeLia was appointed to the Civil Rights Commission, and Jody Polidoro to the Board of Health. Damaris Hicks and Suzanne Rogacki were appointed to the Rent Leveling Board.
The governing body passed a number of parking and traffic ordinances on first reading.
The council also passed an ordinance on meeting decorum sponsored by Councilwoman Wartyna Davis, which she said would ensure that both the members of the council and the public conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. The rules prohibit exceeding the 5-minute limit for public comment, slanderous or rude remarks, personal attacks, profanity, electioneering for candidates, or generally interfering with “orderly and dignified conduct” of the meeting.
The council also passed on first reading a revision to the Civil Rights Commission ordinance, redefining the membership to nine people in total, with seven voting citizens and two non-voting liaisons, one from the council and one from the Police Department.
Ordinances passed on second reading included the adoption of titles and salary ranges for various positions and a number of parking/traffic regulations.