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West Deptford Passes First Draft of $34 Million Township Budget

Taxes will go up under 2012's proposed budget.

West Deptford taxpayers could seek a local tax hike of around $300 on average, after the approved a $34 million budget for 2012 by a 3-2 vote along party lines Thursday night.

Mayor Ray Chintall called it a “very preliminary” version of the budget, and said the tax increase—which would be an additional 15.3¢ per $100 of assessed value—is the worst-case scenario, and is likely to be lower when the budget is finalized later this year.

The $34 million figure is “by no means final,” Chintall said, and stressed that it would be revised, most likely before the May 10 public budget hearing.

Two of the biggest drivers of the increase were a $3.4 million increase in debt service payments this year, as well as $1.5 million for legal defense the township had to set aside in case the Sunoco and Coastal/El Paso tax appeals on ended up in court during the course of the year, Chintall said.

The township is also facing a similar situation as the school board, taking a major hit from Sunoco’s revaluation, which Chintall said represents a 6¢ per $100 of assessed value hole in the ratable base—or about a $1.5 million hit to this year’s budget via Eagle Point alone.

The budget does include $1 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) funding from the West Deptford Energy Station’s construction phase, and committeeman Sam Cianfarini, the committee's finance chair, said there are a number of other initiatives underway to try to close the funding gap in this year’s budget.

Before the budget passed, Democratic committeewoman Denice DiCarlo raised a concern over fees to township professionals detailed in the budget, which she claimed came in $300,000 above what was budgeted for 2011, rather than the $150,000 reduction Cianfarini claimed at the reorganization meeting.

“I just think we would come in a lot lower,” DiCarlo said.

That touched off a lengthy back-and-forth between her and Cianfarini over those fees. Cianfarini questioned DiCarlo’s accounting, and added the actual spending on professionals may have come in higher in 2011, due to what he labeled questionable accounting and issues with the township’s ledgers.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m here,” he said.

But DiCarlo pressed on the professional’s pay, noting her analysis came straight out of the budget documents all committee members have had since the end of March.

“I thought we were really going to take a look at professional fees and decrease it,” she said.

Chintall said it would be something they could look at as the budget takes firmer shape.

“Does it need more revision? Absolutely,” he said. “We’ll have to review that.”

Committeewoman Donna Szymborski also expressed concerns about the budget's specifics before ultimately voting against it.

“We need to spend more time on the line-by-line,” she said.

J. Smith April 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM
I can't believe what I just read. Mayor Chintall and Cianfarini introduced a budget that would pay their attorney $300,000 more than the prior solicitor? This is the same lawyer whose poor legal judgement and lack of experience just resulted in a court-ordered "do over" of the refinery tax appeals. I guess the bad news for taxpayers is that Mayor Chintall may actually spend an additional $300,000 cleaning up the mess the new Republican leadership and their lawyer continue to make.
Theresa Grimm April 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM
I haven't seen the proposed budget as of yet, but as a 22-year resident, I have to say that West Deptford gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase..."Friends with benefits". Why should this budget reflect anything else?
Bryan Littel (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 02:30 PM
That's not accurate - the $300,000 increase mentioned is a total across all professionals paid by the township.
keepin' it real April 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Who is the CLOWN who just had (5) FIVE posts reviewed from this discussion.
john saber April 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM
J SMITH how does it feel that you sometimes feel like an idiot on here.saying things that either you misread or you don't have the intelligence to know what goes on. if you were at last nights meeting ( didn't get over till 11;15 you would know what was going on KNOW THE FACTS before acting like a moron
Ken April 13, 2012 at 02:59 PM
It sounded last night like they (the committee) are affraid to meet in public about the budget. why can't they hold a special meeting publicly and let everyone know if you want to come out then come it will last about 4hrs or whatever then they can all (the committee) go over the budget line by line in front of us instead of letting sam jam the budget down our throats on may 10th. i think everyone on the committee want to help on the budget, why not let them? and if that power point from last night was out a month ago why did the administration hide it from the public till a judge told them not to. they talk about pressing deadlines and yet the whole process was slowed down.
Ryan Patterson April 13, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Ray and Sam could be the most incompetent people ever to take the oath of office in WD. Wasn't Sam the one that said their professionals saved $150,000 after their initial appointment in January. Now it looks tlike they are costing an additonal $300,000. Oh what a nice $450,000 mistake by Sam. What a genius this guy is. Now they get lambasted by the judge for their lack of transparency and violations of the Fair and Open. Combine that with all the lawsuits and they seem to be off to a phenomenal start.
Ken April 13, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Ryan, maybe you and i could get on sam's email list with mr. hansen then sam can write out our questions for the committe and then we would understand his points more clearly.
keepin' it real April 13, 2012 at 05:10 PM
From reading the comments on here today, and reading them in the past 4 months, looks like a lot of these posters are the same people, now with different "names," that have been BASHING and HATING the new republicans who have taken office, every chance they get, AND even LIE just as an opportunity spread their hate. I would even go as far as saying that these posters are one and the same person. Get a Life!
WDNeedsHelp April 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Again the Dems not hearing what was said.. If you pay fat-boy Angelini's bolls under the accounting catagory "other expense" it will not show on a professional service legder listing. Thays what Docimo and Co have been doing for years now, hiding their theft with crappy accounting. Not that C&C have taken to pencil away from the Treasurer and look at it under a microscope the number fall into place. Lets go back 10 years and correct the ledgers to reflect the correct catagory, may not like what you find.....
ThomasJefferson April 13, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Many of us are concerned, reading today's paper it seems we are not getting the transparency they promised. Very disappointing. And their plan was to cut spending and waste and they are proposing a lot of tax increases. They knew where the township stood financially and still made those claims. They have laid off workers and still are projecting budget increases NOT related to tax appeals. I would like an open session regarding the budget
ron mcdonald April 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
WD MARY do you have the power to change anything NO! they got got with there pants down,however it took a few months for them to get the ball rollin and come to some kind of agreement Much less than you can imagine. with all the belly aching that is generated on here,the solution would be MOVE! because no matter what you say or anyone else on here your wasting your valuable time.Instead next election vote.ALL POLITICIANS ARE CROOKED NO MATTER WHO IS IN. And don't feel so bad since OBAMA'S been in office our gas prices have doubled,unemployment has skyrocketed and the economy went to china. So all you frustrated democrats on here and you know who you are smile cause it could be worse

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