Eye On Riverdale

FACT CHECK NJ: Riverdale Muncipal Debt Service

By on May 2, 2015

Suburban Trends – April 26, 2015

In last Sunday’s Suburban Trends you will find and article discussing the Carelli-Pellegrini ZERO BUDGET which was passed unanimously on at the April 22nd Council Meeting.

Mayor Budesheim and Councilman Mastrangelo have been insinuating that the ZERO BUDGET reduced the note payment to enable the town to forego a municipal tax increase for 2015. This was echoed in an article in the Suburban Trends so EOR decided to investigate.

The Trends mistakenly reported that “A few years ago, the council had unanimously agreed to budget $700,000 annually to pay down the borough’s debt”. I recognize this as coming directly from Mayor Budesheim as this a statement that he made in a Council Meeting when asked why he was against a zero municipal tax increase.

The FACT is that, in the last 5 years, the borough has never note payment of $700,000.  The $550,000 debt payment included in the ZERO BUDGET is higher than the 5 year average of $520,000.  

debt_chart

The article goes on to make several misleading statements.

First is states the Riverdale’s debt was $2.2 million at the end of 2014. Although the figure is technically correct, $300,000 of this in the Water Service budget and is paid for by revenue from Riverdale’s water customers and has no effect on the municipal tax levy. So the actual current debt serviced by municipal tax is $1.9 million.

This is the case as well for the $2.0 million that was recently approved by the Council for additional sewer allocation; this new debt will be paid for by revenue from Riverdale’s sewer customers. This again will have no effect on the municipal tax levy.

So no, this budget does not “Kick the can down, the road” nor does it “Put the town at risk”. In the end FACTS win over FEAR MONGERING and the facts show that this is a good budget achieved by responsible individuals working in the best interest of the taxpayer.

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