How The Budget Deficit Was Shrunk
On Friday, Township Administrator Andy Katz gave more details about how the township budget deficit was reduced from $2.5 million to $1.8 million.
The significant $700,000 deficit reduction announced by Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto at a meeting attended by 200 residents Thursday was mostly achieved by applying unanticipated miscellaneous revenues from a prior year to this current budget, said Township Administrator Andy Katz.
Thanks to hours of looking under "all these pebbles" for solutions, said Mayor Patrick Impreveduto, the Township Committee was able to cancel an unpopular vote to authorize a sale of land at preserved Cross Farm and a voter referendum to raise taxes over the two percent cap.
“You see what you have in excess funds from the prior year – where you took in more revenue than you had anticipated,” Katz explained. “It’s commonly referred to as surplus.” On a balance sheet, it shows up as “miscellaneous revenue not anticipated.”
Examples are excess court fees, small grants, or the $153,000 FEMA payment from a 2010 expenditure. The township’s financial team identified the savings after they finished the annual financial statement in early February.
The $700,000 figure does not include the discovery of a $400,000 debt owed to the township by the Board of Education for a joint project improving Roggy Field, said Katz. "We found a rock," said Impreveduto. Holmdel Township Chief Financial Officer Jeanette Larrison discovered the missing payment after a comprehensive analysis, said Katz. It is believed volunteer efforts to raise funds fell short and the money was not raised, he said, and per the agreement, the Board of Education would be responsible for making up the payment.
[Late Friday, the president of the Holmdel Board of Education disputed they owed that much to the township, and issued a detailed statement clarifying the board's obligation to the improvements at Roggy Field. Read the press release here.]
Katz said the township may choose to use the anticipated BOE payment in its three to five year plan, which will also consider the impact of a developing Alcatel-Lucent. “What we are trying to do is move to a point where we are sustaining. We are not doing this just to fix 2012, but also 2013 and beyond,” he said.
The township administrator said he has not yet made his final recommendation to the Township Committee on closing the $1.8 million budget gap in the township's $20 million budget, to be introduced in March. The township is still waiting on certified state aid figures and allocation of energy receipt tax, among other pieces of information. Final adoption is typically in April or May.
Although the governing body passed legislation on Feb. 23 authorizing the sale of wooded lots on Plum Lane, Katz said the property would only be sold if necessary.