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South Brunswick Municipal Budget Introduced with 3-cent Tax Rate Increase

Combined with a possible school tax increase of 5 cents, the owner of a home valued at the township average could see their tax bill go up by about $160.

South Brunswick taxpayers could feel the effects of the bad economy and 2011's major storms when they get their tax bills in June, if a proposed $48.2 million budget is approved by the Township Council.

The budget, up about $1.4 million, reflects costs associated with Hurricane Irene, an October snow storm and a run of commercial tax appeals and calls for a 4 percent increase in the municipal portion of the tax bill, from 72 cents per $100 to 75 cents. 

Under that rate, the owner of a home valued at $195,000 would see an increase of about $60 in municipal taxes.

Due to state law, South Brunswick had to introduce the municipal budget by March 9, or at the first meeting after that date.

"We're just doing this to comply statutorily with the state, but this is not the final product," said Councilman John O'Sullivan during last night's Township Council meeting. "My fellow councilmen will tell you, we still have a ways to go on this."

Township Chief Financial Officer Joseph Monzo said the township ratable base dropped by about $100 million to approximately $3.6 billion last year. Over the last seven years, the township's ratable base has decreased by approximately $180 million. 

Subtracting grants obtained by the township, operational spending would increase by about $1.2 million over last year's budget. About $975,000 of that increase is due to the cost of Hurricane Irene, the Halloween snowstorm, and the impact of tax appeals, Monzo said. The township is expecting a reimbursement from FEMA for approximately $300,000 for the cost of the two storms at some point this year.

 in 2011. 

"During the last three years alone, 8 percent of our ratable base has been diminished from the net affect of tax appeals," Monzo said.

In February,, but that number has been reduced after a series of budget meetings with various township department heads over the past few weeks. The meetings are expected to continue in an attempt to further reduce the tax increase before the budget is adopted in April.

Under the 2 percent tax cap, the township could have raised taxes by 7.7-cents, or 9.6 percent. Increases in health care, emergencies like Hurricane Irene, and the loss of tax ratables can be built into the tax levy.

"A lot of hard work has gone into this so far and I want to thank all of our directors and employees for helping us to get down from a 7-cent increase to about 3 cents," said Mayor Frank Gambatese. "I commend you for your hard work, now let's see if we can get this down further."

The township received about $5.1 million in aid, after receiving $5.2 million last year.

Combined with the proposed increase to the municipal tax rate, the owner of a home valued at the township average could see an increase of approximately $160 in taxes this year.

The council expects to hold a public hearing on the budget at the first regular meeting next month, scheduled for April 10.

"We're only introducing this budget, we're not adopting it," Gambatese said. "We believe there's more work we need to do before the adoption of the 2012 budget takes place."

Truthteller March 14, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Just because he works for several municipalities does not prove your point. Is he a benefited employee in SB? Is he a shared services employee saving each town money> Does he do work for the other towns as a side business? There are lots of questions. This is why I said put forth your ideas. Here is an example if he is a benefited full time employee of SB. Could the town request that the work with other towns be shared service? Or could we charge them a fee and determine a value to the town and a value to the employee? If he does this on his own time why would we have the right to interfere? You see Winston you need facts not supposition. Your intention to cut cost is fine but you are going about it the wrong way. Everyone is attacked on a personal level deal with the broader issues resolve the procedures and processes and you will be much better off. Find solutions all you do is comment and criticize anybody can do that. If you want to be taken seriously be a gentlemen and provide points of view. Also learn to accept that others will differ. One example is my view on a flat tax some disagree but it was a good debate mostly void of personal attacks. In the end a few of us differ on the idea. That does not make them stupid or evil or incompetent we just agree to disagree..
Winston March 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Middle...you have now proven you are GROSSLY uniformed...Monzo....full time pay and benefits at SB while working at other towns...no shared services. I suggest you google search Joe Monzo and ask in public Frank and Bernie how they let him get away with this. They cannot answer without attacking the person questioning this. The only reason he gets away with this is because he is a Democrat operative ...no other reason!
Just me March 14, 2012 at 03:02 PM
A link to the budget. http://www.twp.south-brunswick.nj.us/vertical/sites/%7B9E5944A6-A9C2-418C-9E3F-EB23EB627DB9%7D/uploads/2012_Full_Budget_Presentation.pdf Lists a CFO @ $143K salary.
Winston March 14, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Gee...a manager, deputy manager and a lol...lol...Public AffairS coordinator! Bloated incompetence? What is the 10k for a deputy town manager? Cant Bernie do th job we need to spend 10k for an assistant? South Brubpnswick is one of the only towns of this size with a Public Affairs position with salary and benefits it's over 100k for what? People wake up the bloat and execs and nepotism is alive, well and growing in South Brunswick!
Just me March 14, 2012 at 06:45 PM
It looks like they are giving Monzo an additional 10K for taking on the responsibility of deputy township manager.
Winston March 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM
So Monzo, who Frank and Bernie...let work part time and get full time pay...gets another 10k for babysitting the trainee town manager? Wake up people!!! This is a great reason to recall Frank Gamabatese! He is giving our tax money to political insiders while forcing us to pay for it!
Just me March 14, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Looks like the township council gave themselves a 7% increase this year over last year. Our finanancial department runs about 250K more than North Brunswick's. Some other areas where we are much higher than North Brunswick is the Health Department - 300K, Purchasing -105K, Animal Control 80K, Information Technology 200K, Tax Collection 100K, Tax Assessor 100K or double, Senior Services 400K, Parks 250K and Code Enforcement, sit down for this one, 600K more! I picked North Brunswick for comparison since they are roughly the same size as we are. Looks like North Brunswick has found some efficiencies that haven't reached us down in South Brunswick yet. Oh, and also, it doesn't look like they pay their local government anything. That runs us around 50K for the year. Not much but another expense passed along to the taxpayers.
Winston March 14, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Just me......I really like you. Please post more often...many here blindly believe the nonsense spewed by the town council. Maybe your evaluation and assessment will help them see the light!
Winston March 14, 2012 at 11:50 PM
We need to encourage the hard working township employees to stand up and be an arny of whistle blowers. They are bing lumped in with the political friends and will be laid off if they dont help us get the town back. We need their help in exposing Frank, Bernie and Joe for the political operatives they are...in addition we need to fill the township chambers to demand an end to this nonsense, last we need to start a recall drive to get Gambatese and all the other council members supporting this tax and spend nonsense out of our town!
Truthteller March 15, 2012 at 01:47 AM
There are some areas in the SB budget that could be addressed. Things such as the tax collection and assesment are areas for shared service. Health department can go. Purchasing is another area that can be managed using shared services as well as animal control. Parks and recreation is difficult because of the varying number and size of parks in each town hard to find a fair way to allocate resources.
Winston March 15, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Hmmmm...I always knew their were a lot of ethical and concerned SB municipal employees...many I hear are afraid of retribution from the political machine. Well Liz...a few phone calls to the state or maybe a sharp local investigative reporter..(HINT HINT ---Davy?) could be of assistance. SB residents and municipal employees deserve better than the mob running the town. Liz..are you up for it?
Winston March 15, 2012 at 02:09 AM
According to the SB 2012 they are giving the council and top executives raises and bonuses....Monzo, the CFO, is giving himself a $10,000 raise and he doesnt even live in town so he could care less about us paying him full time pay for full time work!
Winston March 15, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Where does Joseph Monzo, the SB CFO, work? A quick Google search shows that South Brunswick must be his part time job. How can anyone work for SB, Mansfield, Rocky Hill, teach a night class for Rutgers ( in budgeting LOL LOL) and in 2010 the finance director for the campaign for the Mayor of Ewing all at the same time? Frank Gambatese has been asked at public meetings why he allows Monzo to work part time and get full time pay while the towns finances are collapsing. Gambatese refuses to answer and instead attacks the poor sap tax payer and calls him a liar. Frank is a real class act. Mansfield Township – Joe Monzo Chief Financial Officer www.mansfieldtwp-nj.com/phone_directory.php Email: finance@mansfieldtwp-nj.com Phone: 609.298.0542 Ext. 20 BOROUGH OF ROCKY HILL - CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER - Joseph Monzo (4 YEAR TERM, Exp. 12/31/2013) http://www.rockyhill-nj.gov/content/6293/default.aspx Ewing - Monzo – 2010 Inerim CFO and chairman of the Democrat's campaign finance team http://www.mercerspace.com/article/86914-ewing+mayor+bert+steinmann+township+finances+shambles Teaching a Rutgers Night Course…in Finance…LOL LOL http://www.cgs.rutgers.edu/cgs/sites/ce-drupal01.rutgers.edu.cgs/files/cgs/docs/prog_brochure_EO11spring.pdf
I am RIGHT March 15, 2012 at 02:36 AM
W - Every cause needs a leader. Are you willing to be the leader? You are obviously developing quite a following.
Winston March 15, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Another assistant? What their name?
Crazy World March 15, 2012 at 04:00 AM
I'm with Liza. I had enough also. With the downturn in the economy, how does the township expect its citizens to cough up more money each year! Between the municipal, school and sewer going up and our salaries going down, we soon won't be able to afford to stay in South Brunswick, let alone the state of New Jersey. We need to get the bloat out of the budget.
Just me March 15, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Lisa, I was just pulling numbers off the presentation for the 2012 proposed budget. They have a line in there for 10K for the Deputy Township Manager and the budget was proposed by Monzo, listing that as his title on the presentation. Who knows, could be 15! As a salaried employee myself I am also given additional projects, etc., but no additional compensation. The way these budgets are proposed, the assumptions are that everyone has the ability to give themselves a raise to cover addtional expenses. The township council is getting a 7% raise in the proposed budget. When was the last time YOU or I saw that kind of raise?
Winston March 15, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Attention all you upstanding, ethical and hardworking SB township employees: please voice your opinions and inside information on this public site. Your friends, family and neighbors need your help on shining the light on the lack of ethics, political back room deals and mismanagement of the town council and it's managers. Don't be made a victim by Frank, Joe and Bernie. Show them that the workers and town deserve better. I personally thank you for your help.
Truthteller March 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Winston you are a volunteer in town can I ask how many hours a week on average you volunteer? Your service is appreciated
Winston March 15, 2012 at 06:30 PM
A friend of the mayor...hmmmmmmm.
Just me March 15, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Did Matt Watkins have an assistant? Is she/he still there?
Joe R March 15, 2012 at 08:08 PM
If Winston/Steve actually runs for office, he will be haunted by the vicious, nasty, abusive personal attacks that he has launched on this web site. He will have to take responsibility for his unsubstantiated outrageous remarks. Is that how he will operate as a politician? Attack, attack, attack and smear, smear, smear?
Winston March 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Hmmm..if Winston does run I am sure JoeR will increase the vicious, nasty, abusive personal attacks that he has launched against him. And winston will be able to in the light of day look the dimwit politicians, left wing loons and union drones in the eye and tell them .....we,taxpayers of South Brunswick will not take it anymore! And for the good of humanity, children and puppies he will ,attack, attack and smear, smear, and smear all those who get in the way of truth, justice and the American way! (the muffled sound of Winston stepping off of his soap box)
Just me March 15, 2012 at 10:36 PM
http://www.twp.south-brunswick.nj.us/vertical/sites/%7B9E5944A6-A9C2-418C-9E3F-EB23EB627DB9%7D/uploads/2012_Full_Budget_Presentation.pdf Above is a link to the proposed salaries for each of the employees, excluding Utility and Police, beginning on page 52 of the presentation. We have some pretty hefty salaries in there. I am also curious about the Longevity pay??? What is that? Also, how do they have the gall to be giving themselves 7% increases???
Just me March 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I noticed there was an accumulated leave, "done as emergency", in the 2011 expenses. Half million dollars! Nice! And we wonder why we're going broke! I guess even though Gambatese was claiming we already had a cap on that in the township, it was under funded and they played catch up! I find them to be a slimy crew quite frankly! I just keep wondering why they keep getting elected. Although the most recent round of tax increases may make people think twice next time around. By then I will be living out of state!
Winston March 15, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Just Me...the sad truth most SB residents are either uniformed, uninvolved, dumb or politcal dupes always voting the party line no matter who the candidates are. Frank, Bernie, Joe and the boys can do anything they want and they do. As witnessed here their most ardent supporters are the ones complaining about all of the tax increases but cannot blame the mob running city hall!
Mike March 17, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Anyone here ever think of going to a council meeting and speaking? It is great to talk here but it really goes no where. Some of the comments are quite good.
I am RIGHT March 17, 2012 at 01:44 PM
W/SFK goes all the time. I see his name in the minutes.
Just me March 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Mike, do you really thinka couple of voice makes a difference? Yes, there should be better attendance at the meetings. I for one will be there on April 10th for their dog and pony show!
Just me March 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Not only did they not eliminate the Health Department in the final proposed budget, they actually gave them 3.9% increases!

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