Budgets Not Easily Available on Holmdel and Hazlet Websites

By law, municipalities must have updated budget information on its website.

Holmdel and Hazlet Townships received no recognition for their municipal websites, according to a Monmouth University study performed by the school’s Polling Institute and its Graduate Program in Public Policy.

Holmdel Township ranked 437 out of 540 rated websites, while Hazlet ranked 330.

The study, which graded 540 municipal websites for features such as citizen interaction and the use of social media, named Middletown as its overall winner.

Using codes for the amount of information, student teams then assessed each website for its ease of use. Students gauged how long it took to find certain information on a website, including the municipal budget and trash/recycling information.

By law, municipalities must have updated budget information on its website.

Holmdel Township's budget is located through a link on the front page. However, budget information through that link only goes as far as 2011.

Further searching on the Holmdel homepage brings a user to the fine print, at the bottom of the page is a link to the 2012 introduced budget, complete with year-old information about the budget public hearing.

For Patch, the search for Holmdel's budget took about five minutes.

Hazlet's budget isn't as easy to find, which may have counted against the township in the ease of use category. In fact, Patch couldn't find the township budget at all, after several minutes of searching.

Patch's search for Hazlet's budget was stopped at six minutes.

Hazlet does have a township mobile app which contains business information as well as departmental and committee information.

Hazlet Interim Business Administrator Dennis Pino noted that the Monmouth University study was based upon an older iteration of the township's site. The Hazlet Township Committee recently authorized a redesign of the site and other IT enhancements.

Tell us: do you think your municipal website is easy to use and provides the information you're looking for?

Jeannie Gallagher Donnelly March 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM
I had to go into the office and ask how to find this; http://www.hazlettwp.org/financialdoc
Kaitlyn Anness March 27, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Thanks, Jeannie!
Anthony Cooper March 27, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Many thank to Patch for its important public service in locating and publicizing the whereabouts of this important information. At its official meetings to date, Holmdel's Township Committee has been saying to all who've asked for 2012 municipal budget information that isn't available to the public.
Thomas Scarano March 27, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Dr. Cooper..are you talking about the 2013 budget?
Patricia J March 27, 2013 at 03:42 PM
The 2012 has been up there for a bit. That's the one with the town park land sale being considered as revenue - which of course we didn't have to do because the committee all of a sudden found some additional monies. Betting the 2013 budget has similar shenanigans in it. Can't wait.
Nick J. March 27, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Patricia, I wonder if you could elaborate on your shenanigans claim. Are you implying that the Committee did something illegal?
bettyann o'keefe March 27, 2013 at 04:37 PM
You Holmdel people make me laugh. I don't even live in your dam town I live in Hazlet and readthe Patch every day. All you people do is cry don't raise my taxes , don't build anything to help with my taxes, don't put sewers in because sombady might build a house. all I want open land, we don't need cops you people for all your money are the biggest cry babbies. move to my town and other towns and see how life really works. I see your mayor and council on this site in video clips he seems like a good guy who is communicationg with the public that more then I can say. Please stop your wining and grow up.
Patricia J March 27, 2013 at 05:08 PM
No, not illegal. Just stupid political games imo. Was hoping for better with an expert municipal finance person on the committee.
William Y March 27, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Don't be hatin' on Holmdel people just cause we beat you on Thanksgiving day. There's always next year :)
Nick J. March 28, 2013 at 12:56 AM
As I recall, the 2012 budget was balanced without selling open space, while the property tax increase was under the state mandated 2% cap.....I call that excellent financial management.
Nick J. March 28, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Bettyann, I am a Holmdel resident and I couldn't agree with you more.
Patricia J March 28, 2013 at 01:38 AM
That it was. But it was after a lot of public outcry that the committee changed course. If it wasn't for the press and the residents, I'm sure we'd have had asset sales. Just hoping for less drama this year, that's all (lest we be labeled as whiners).
Observer March 29, 2013 at 12:20 AM
I agree that the Holmdel site needs a major upgrade. It appears like a collection of older, differently designed and often unorganized separate websites. The only design update on the main page is the rare periodic change of the title photo. It is not an appealing site for visitors at all.
Steve Strickland April 07, 2013 at 04:55 PM
"As I recall, the 2012 budget was balanced without selling open space, while the property tax increase was under the state mandated 2% cap..." The actual increase (if you look at your bill) was a bit over 12%. It is only after some budgetary/accounting maneuvers leading to a page of exclusions---partly documented on Sheet 3b(la)---that the 2.5% cap was met. But by all means, don't believe me; take a look at the numbers on your own bill. Make sure you include the "County Health Tax" that represents the Health Dept that was outsourced in 2012.


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