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Stone Harbor to Undertake Budget Studies

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By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – Stone Harbor had an unusually difficult time with its 2021 budget process. Hit by the same 2020 pandemic-driven revenue losses that plagued many of the county’s communities, the borough also had to deal with covering an emergency appropriation from 2020 and accommodate a move to paid career firefighters after years of an all-volunteer fire department.
The 2021 experience convinced council members to look at the borough’s budget process, collect information that might support cost containment, and seek potential new areas of revenue. 
To that end, the governing body commissioned a series of studies and analyses to be conducted by the borough administrator and chief financial officer. 
The requested studies were approved by a motion at Borough Council’s May 4 meeting (https://bit.ly/3hN7Jku). The Herald obtained the documentation supporting that motion, which shows the following tentative schedule:
Consideration of an increase in beach tag fees, which must be coordinated with Avalon – Due in May
A salary and wages survey of municipalities involved in the same competitive labor pool – Due by the end of May
Consideration of options for outsourcing all or part of the borough’s trash removal – Due by June 30
A review of the borough budget process – Due Aug. 30
A 10-year projected capital budget – Due Nov. 30
A capital budget Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis – Due Nov. 30
A study of new sources of revenue, including the potential sale of borough assets, or theimposition of a municipal occupancy tax – Due July 30

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