Monthly Archives: May 2011

SLH Borough Council Adopts Zero-Tax Increase Budget for 2011

For the second year in a row, there will be no municipal tax increase in Spring Lake Heights. At the Monday, May 9 meeting, the Council voted 4 to 2 to pass the budget.

At a previous meeting, Finance Chair Councilwoman Patricia Cindea presented two potential budgets. One of them raised taxes, one did not. The Council majority voted to introduce the one that did not raise taxes, choosing instead to use money from the Borough’s surplus account.

Part of the money that goes into surplus comes from overtaxation. Coucilman Gavino “Butch” Maccanico explained that he felt this money should be returned to the taxpayers in the form of no new increases. Approximately 2.85% of the overall budget is still held in surplus, a slightly higher amount than the 2% recommended by the State.

The budget vote fell along party lines, with support from the Republicans who hold the Council majority. Councilwomen Cindea and Sara King, along with Councilmen Rich Diver and Maccanico all voted ‘yes’ for no new taxes.

The two Democrats, Councilmen John P. Brennan and Thomas Vorbach, both voted ‘no’ against adopting the zero-increase budget. In a lengthy discourse, Councilman Brennan said he felt it was “reckless” to use surplus money to offset a tax increase.

SLH Council Votes to Dissolve Fire District

MAY 2, 2011 — In a 3-2 vote, the SLH Borough Council voted this evening to dissolve the Fire District and Board of Fire Commissioners. Councilwomen Patricia Cindea and Sara King, along with Councilman Richard Diver, voted yes. Councilmen John Brennan and Tom Vorbach voted no. Councilman Gavino “Butch” Maccanico abstained, citing a conflict of interest because he has relatives in the fire company.

The Board of Fire Commissioners was formed after a successful referendum vote was held in 1987. This evening, Councilman Vorbach suggested that since the Commission was formed through popular vote that another referendum be held to dissolve. However, Councilman Brennan spoke against holding a referendum, saying the matter was “too sensitive” to be left up to the popular vote.

The public hearing ran almost three hours, during which many firemen and residents got up to speak on behalf of saving the Commission. One member of the Bradley Beach fire company spoke, saying that recent comparisons of the SLH fire company to Bradley Beach’s “…are like comparing apples to a grape.”

Despite the repeated argument that no one on the Council has the background in running a fire company and did not know the amount of paperwork and other administrative costs involved, the Council majority support dissolution of the commission.

The decision will now be handed of to the New Jersey State Department of Community Affairs for finalizing. All assets of the Board of Fire Commissioners, including all the fire trucks and equipment, as well as finances, will be turned over to the Borough.

Although it was thought that some money would be saved in 2011 from the decision, there was no formal cost analysis performed and no one could say how much it would cost the Borough to run the fire company in the future. The Borough of SLH now assumes all maintenance costs of trucks and equipment, replacement costs of firefighter gear and airpacks, along with responsibility for maintaining the fire company building on 6th and Essex Avenues.

In the upcoming days, heightsonline will make available a video recording of the proceedings.