Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Tonight the Council budget session is devoted to public safety department specifically the police and fire departments.

It is to be noted that in the proposed budget allocation for these two segments of Public Affairs and Safety shows a of $300,000 in salaries and wages for the police department and $500,000 for the fire department. Other segments in this department show little change; there is an additional $5000 budget (not in last year) for the auxiliary police. The salary and wages for the director is posted as $1700 more than paid last year (FY2010). This may be due to the suspension days imposed on the Director. There is a small 1% increase for crossing guards; the same as budgeted last year and a minimal decrease in other expenses. For and other divisions in this department the signal system has a decrease of$30,000 and the Fire Official $14,000.

It seems draconian to me that in this community which has a severe crime problem that the number of of officers to be cut is significant in the department which is already understaffed. Likewise the cuts in personnel for the fire department must increase danger and risk in this community.

One wonders what the administration's priorities are when there is an increase of $80,000 in salaries and wages and $134,000 in other expenses for "Information Technology" adding up to $240,000. I am not sure if this is justified by counterbalancing the loss of protective services

Of minor importance is the increase of $10,000 in 4 July celebration appropriation. I am sure the citizens would rather have a handsome police man or fireman stead of the fireworks and parades.

One of the difficulties for commenting on the budget is the documents supplied to the public' Under appropriate for each department and organization there are just two lines; one "salaries and wages" and the other "other expenses" without any breakdown for the outsider to understand what is being done'

The salaries and wages lines could be further broken downa sto specifics. To protect individual's privacy they must not be named however the position should be. It is quite possible to cut three jobs and increase one individuals salary by 33% and still look as if there is an overall cut in the unit of only one job. Likewise the other expenses bugett item that could be a wastepaper basket receptacle. Numerous other expenditure line including legal fees insurances etc. which are also covered separate would be of value.

I am unfamiliar about the term "Cap bank" . What does it mean what does it consist of ? I am sure that there are probably not more than a dozen Plainfielders that are familiar with the term.
Would somebody please enlighten me.

On the second page of the proposed 2011 fiscal year budget there is a item marked increase to the average home taxes. For this, the city taxe is $218.89; for the school taxe it is $204.78. There is disproportionate increase in the school taxes which with the county taxes make up lesson 50% of our tax bill and the taxes anticipated for the municipality. Percentage wise both increases are less than 1%; in actuality the school board increase is 10 times that of the public. Percent wise


  1. I believe the cap bank refers to a budgeting mechanism that allows a municipality to "bank" the amount that a municipal budget falls under the 2.5% cap. A municipality may "bank" this difference each year that it manages to strike a budget that is less than the 2.5% cap. These banked amounts can be carried until such time as the municipality finds itself unable to strike a budget without exceeding the 2.5% cap, at which time it can use the banked amount(s) and technically not exceed the 2.5%.

  2. Doc, in looking at statistics regarding police salaries and crime, there does not seem to be a correlation. There are cities like Elizabeth, whose police make about the same as Plainfield, but their violent crime rate is less. There are also many municipalities whose police make more, and the crime rate is more.

    In studying the stats, it does not seem that there is a one to one correlation between crime rate and salary. What appears to be more of the correlation is the education level and tolerence for crime.

    No more low income, and get the low lifes out who don't respect the city or the citizens.

  3. 'One wonders what the administration's priorities are when there is an increase of $80,000 in salaries and wages and $134,000 in other expenses for "Information Technology" adding up to $240,000. I am not sure if this is justified by counterbalancing the loss of protective services'

    I don't want to say I told you so ( Plainfield Taxpayers and the City Council) but I TOLD YOU SO!!!. As you can see this is my 'Niagara Falls.' The top of my skull is floating in the air. All this and more (cable TV, Police and Fire IT, the creation and management of the City Web Site, etc.etc..etc.) could have been farmed out --like to the Library.

    But then again in Plainfield 'Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know which one you are going are get.'