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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?

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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