Thursday, June 30, 2016

Edison Council Review of Mayor Lankey's $128.1 million Muni-Budget for CY 2016?!?

Well, it's now the end of June and still haven't heard when the Council is going to take up Mayor Tom 'Now 13.8%' ChoiLankey's Introduced Muni-Budget for  CY 2016. Seems if they want to review and adopt a budget in time to get the tax bills out (and avoid spending money on estimated tax bills) then there must be a meeting coming pretty soon. Last I looked at the schedule on the website, there was only one meeting scheduled for the end of July.

Update - just checked the website at 2:15 today and the Council will hold a Special Meeting on Monday July 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers - for a Public Hearing on both the 2016 Municipal and Solid Waste Collection Budgets. 

Be that as it may, here's a summary of the 2016 Introduced Budget (you can see the complete budget here on the Township's website):

As you can see, Señor Lankey's budget comes with $128.1m in appropriations, which is up some 1% over last year. It also comes with a reduction in revenue of some $1.2 million and hence, an increase in the tax levy of $2.4 million. These changes over last year, take the Muni tax-rate to $1.269, which is up 3.4-Cents or 2.74% over last year. And if you look, you can see the library is up 7.44% and local tax 2.47%.

So, what do we have here? We have appropriations up slightly, a big decrease in revenue both adding to an increase in the tax levy of some $2.4 million.

Now, I guess they know what's in these numbers but I sure haven't heard anybody yet explain them. However, if history is any indication, I'm not to concerned with the revenue decrease since, as you'll see in a second, Señor Lankey has a tendency to have his revenue numbers amended up by the Council.

Which brings me to these so-called Council budget reviews. Obviously, I don't place much stock in them since the end result of their efforts doesn't really change things for you and me and why I refer them as Council 'AmendNotMents.'

Take a look at Señor Lankey's last two muni-budgets that were reviewed by the Council:

You can see they reduced Lankey's increase by a whole lot of Nothing while increasing revenue, adding some more appropriations and letting a minuscule amount go to reduce the tax levy.

Hard to explain how on the $172,762,787 that they reviewed over those two years - that all they could find to reduce Lankey's tax increases by was a Whopping $730,900.

But hey, what do I know - I still can't figure out why Lankey can't get the revenue number right in these Introduced Budgets.

Anyhoo, just looking at the numbers themselves, sure looks like there's ample room to kick Lankey's 2.74% Muni tax-increase to the curb - but don't hold your breath here in the 'DemBadLands' of Downtown Edison.

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