Carteret Administration Proposes $1.2 M In Cuts To Defeated School Budget

CARTERET—Mayor Daniel Reiman proposed a $1.2 million cut in Carteret’s defeated school budget at a special joint meeting of the Borough Council and School Board on May 19.

The reduction is from the School District’s proposed 2008-2009 total school year budget of $50,236,683, which called for a general fund tax rate levy of 2.416 up from the 07-08 actual tax rate levy of 2.371 per $100 of assessment.

The Mayor’s proposal was made based on the administration’s and municipal auditors’ review of the defeated budget and will address a number of ongoing issues related to school finances. The tax rate will now be set at $2.296 per $100 of assessment representing a $144 savings from the proposed 08-09 school budget and a net tax reduction of $90 over the 07-08 average school tax levy.

As part of the $1.2 million reduction in the budget presented at the special council meeting, the mayor is calling for the reduction of school expenditures by $785,000 and additional utilization of surplus funds equaling $414,000.

In addition, Reiman and council directed the board to address health, safety, and security issues, with an additional $750,000 of reallocated funds being applied towards shared services. In addition, new capital improvements will also be provided for through the borough via participation in the Middlesex County Improvement Authority’s capital improvement program.

“Each year we reach these crossroads,” Reiman said, “where we have to determine the appropriate balance between our tax levies and the quality of educational resources that the board of education provides. After a thorough review of the coming year’s budget and proposed increases, it was clear that the schools’ monetary resources were not being directed where needed most – towards our children. In the end, the meticulous reduction and reprogramming of the budget was more than fair; and will produce much needed improvements within the school system, and completely eliminate the proposed school tax increase to Carteret homeowners.”

“As an administration, we take our responsibility very seriously; the only time during the year that we have a say in education policy is during the review of a defeated school budget. It’s not enough to simply make a token reduction, our fiduciary responsibility to our taxpayers require a complete and thorough review of all expenditures, reserves, encumbrances, and tax levy requirements. The modified school budget will provide a thorough and efficient education as required under state law and actually reduce the tax rate, not simply trim the always inflated proposed budget, but an actual tax cut in comparison to the operating budget from this current year” said Reiman.

“These reductions will keep in line with the Mayor’s budget policies and goals” said Patrick J. DeBlasio, Chief Finance Officer / Tax Collector.

In 2007 the administration reduced the defeated budget by $750,000

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