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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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Middle Mayor Announces Taxpayer Christmas Present

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By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – With less than a week left before Christmas Day, Mayor Timothy Donohue announced, Dec. 20, that the city administrator and chief financial officer were able to find funds to cover a $345,000 gap in the budget caused by a budgeting error.
Earlier this year, Middle Township was left with the need to pass an emergency appropriation for the $345,000 in order to cover the cost of transferring emergency dispatch services to the county. The 2022 budget reflected the savings to the township of ending its own dispatch service but failed to allocate the dollars necessary to pay the county for the function.
Donohue said Township Administrator Kimberly Osmundsen and its interim CFO Francine Springer had successfully identified enough unspent funds in the 2022 budget to cover the emergency appropriation, freeing the 2023 budget of the onerous burden.
In a resolution passed during the meeting, $445,530 from various 2022 budget lines was transferred to other areas in the 2022 budget. The bulk of those funds went to cover the emergency appropriation. Seventy-percent of the reallocated dollars came from police department salaries and wages and unexpended workers compensation funds. The action will reduce any surplus from the 2022 budget when the budget year concludes.
State rules require that an emergency appropriation be covered in the next municipal budget which would have saddled the township’s 2023 budget with a burden at the outset of the budget process. 2023 already promises to be a challenging year given the sharp hike in employee health care premiums imposed by the state.
Carrying the emergency appropriation into 2023 along with the health premium hike would have saddled that budget process with expenses the taxpayers would have had to meet. Local purpose tax revenue accounts for 60% of the township’s general fund in 2022.

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