Letter to the Editor: Truths about the 2021 Township Budget

parsippany focus

parsippany focusDear Editor:

The Mayoral campaign is heating up, and along with it, distortions and half-truths become the norm. I would normally just endorse Barberio, Musella, and Neglia as the best candidates to restore fiscal responsibility to Parsippany. However, the Mayor is blaming everyone except himself for the deficit budget that he handed over to the Township Council. Neighbors have called to tell me that, in addition to his opponent, he blames the Township Council and specifically me for the deficits. A response to these far-reaching accusations is needed.

Because of the serious budget deficits caused by this administration in the past three years, it took them over seven months in 2021 to produce a budget that was “Balanced and certified”. Balanced and Certified does not mean that this is a good budget … far from it. The administration has solved its deficit problems by pushing a lot of its problems into 2022. The sustainability of this budget should be a concern to the Township for future budgets.

The 2021 budget includes several one-time non-reoccurring revenues. That means these funds will not be available to the Township when preparing the budget for 2022. In other words, the administration has kicked the can down the road. They have pushed as much of their 2021 deficit into the 2022 budget that they could get away with. The State (DCA) granted the administration a one-time allowance on budget practices and gimmicks that would normally not be allowed. The Township Council rejected the Mayor’s request to borrow $5million to balance his budget. We also prevented him from pushing another $1.1million into 2022. We felt that we should start addressing some of the budget deficits in 2021 rather than allowing the Mayor to push everything into 2022. These Council votes were unanimous and bi-partisan.

The Township’s 2021 budget contains unrealistic revenue estimates and seriously underestimates expenses. The Township should keep a watchful eye on the revenues that have been anticipated and be prepared for any shortfalls in revenue. The Township should also carefully monitor budget expenditures for the remainder of the year to allow for the flexibility afforded by the State. I assume that this would come in the form of “Emergency Appropriations”.

Even though this is not a good budget, the Township Council had no choice at this late date but to pass it. We were approaching the fourth quarter of the year. The Mayor may try to blame previous administrations, but after 3.5 years as Mayor, this deficit budget falls completely on him.

Michael dePierro