West Deptford Township Budget in the Works, Awaiting Introduction
The 2012 budget should be introduced this month.
After weeks of work in budget meetings and debate over what should and shouldn’t be in the 2012 plan, the West Deptford township committee is close to finishing the initial version, which should be introduced this month, township officials said.
But revisions are coming in regularly, and should continue even after the budget is introduced, as the committee considers what it can do on both the spending and revenue sides to limit any hit to residents.
“It’s been a lot of subcommittee meetings on the budget,” township administrator Eric Campo said, though he added the planning rarely ever stops. “The budget is almost a 12-month process.”
For instance, township officials were looking at the 2012 budget back in November and December, Campo said, as they cemented the 2011 budget against actual spending, to try to predict what 2012 would look like.
Now, it’s a matter of turning that into a more finalized plan for the year.
“We’re working on the draft documents,” Campo said. “There are still some contingencies out there.”
With the township facing the same $172 million hit to the ratable base as the school district did when it put together its budget in the last month, Campo said the township committee and department heads have had to not only find savings, but also figure out where they stand in regards to the tax cap.
“We don’t have an exact number yet,” Campo said.
The good news is payments are already coming in on West Deptford Energy’s Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. Campo said those start out at $1 million per year during the construction of the power plant on Paradise Road, and eventually rise after the plant is up and running. In all, the township will see about $96 million over three decades from that PILOT.
One thing the township should catch a break on is annual winter costs around snow removal and salt. After back-to-back years of having to go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for extra funding to help clean up in the wake of storms like the one that dumped 19 inches of snow on Verga last year.
With virtually no snow to speak of, it’s money that can be socked away, instead.
“That should be a $50,000 savings,” Campo said.
That money would likely be held in reserve, Campo said, given the potential for snow on the other end of the calendar.
“We’ve got to be mindful of planning for 2012,” he said.