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Village Employees face furloughs

In furloughs, James Ten Hoeve, new jersey fiscal crisis, taxes, Village Employees on February 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Village Employees face furloughs

Employees face furloughs

Thursday, February 19, 2009
Last updated: Thursday February 19, 2009, 8:17 AM

BY EVONNE COUTROS
NorthJersey.com
STAFF WRITER
RIDGEWOOD — Faced with a 2009 budget that exceeds $41.6 million and no increase in state aid, village employees could be getting additional time off — but it won’t be paid.

“A one-week furlough is on the table for village employees,” Village Manager James Ten Hoeve said of furloughs for about 280 workers. “It could be worked out to be one day off a month for the second half of the year or we could shut down one day a week out of the 12 summer weeks for non-essential services. It would save $425,000.”
Any discussion of furlough time involves communication with seven unions that represent employees in the village, including a majority of police and fire personnel, village officials said. The police and fire chief would not be exempt from furlough time, nor would Ten Hoeve.

“We would not compromise safety,” Ten Hoeve said. “We would not let that happen.”
State-mandated costs to the village add up to $28.2 million, including $4.9 million for group insurance and $2 million in pension costs for fire and police personnel. Non-mandated expenses add up to $13.4 million, and that’s where department heads are being asked to pinch pennies. Cuts must be made to the tune of 6 percent, or $804,000.
“Budgets were fatter in the past,” Ten Hoeve said. “Layoffs are the alternative to the furlough. Layoffs and furloughs would be the absolute last resort because that would translate into a loss of service for our residents. We don’t want that to happen.”
A final decision will come by the end of March when village officials meet with department heads and review the details of their budget requests, Ten Hoeve said. The 2008 village budget was just over $40 million.

“At this point we are $50,000 above the levy cap,” Ten Hoeve said of the 4 percent cap set by the state budget. “My concern is that there are over $800,000 of one-time revenue sources in the 2009 proposed budget. They will not be there next year, so new revenue sources have to be identified or structural cuts in expenditures must be made &hellip and cuts at that level would have to be services.”
One-time revenue sources include the sale of village property and aid to offset debt service, for example.

“Once you use those funds, they are gone,” Ten Hoeve said. “What we’re trying to do is plug the gap this year with revenues that are available and that gives us time to plan and orderly restructure ourselves for 2010.”

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  1. Were it not for the big money items our leaders are embracing I would half buy into this position. However, as long as we are building multi millon dollar projects like the parking garage and spending $300,000 on bathrooms at public fields and hiring an assistant village manager (a new position added to the payroll) this whole proposal is nonsense in my mind. Let’s cut out the luxury spending first. If I was having trouble paying my mortgage I would not go out and buy a new BWM.

  2. Buy more open spaces. A waste of funds.
    Why not just rezone the land for commerical property, so it can’t be developed into housing.

    Lets save some money and put it into the services we need to keep the town as we are used too.

  3. Nice going Ten Hoeve and co. You just gave up property tax revenue related to Schedler and also are going to have to pay interest and principal on the bonds related to that acquisition. We really needed that property but we might have to see some cuts in services at some point? Maybe the town should try to become a bank so we can get some TARP funds.

  4. A Little quiet over here….

    I wonder why?

  5. How about plugging the gap by telling the Village Council to stop spending!

    $2.9 million for a new park, $330K for new bathrooms, $13,9 million for a new pool, $18 million for a parking garage – the madness must stop now!

  6. Its about time this Village stops spending money on farms and soccer fields. Sell the habernickel farm to a developer. Recoup the costs. Then the new homes on that site would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in property taxes for the town to pay its employees. We keep taking properties OFF the tax rolls. That is a mistake. We need to increase ratables. That property on Route 17 should become an office park. The property on the corner of Paramus Rd/linwood ave should be a condo complex. All of the above would generate millions per year of incrementally increasing tax revenue. And do not even THINK of pissing away money on graydon at this critical time.

  7. well stop buying land that we dont need.we dont have the money and the man power to keep this clean..and we are not going to get any more taxes from this land.and all depts are so short on staff.thanks the tax boy.

  8. I think the department heads should give back two weeks,the worker makes them look good.and they can aford to do it.and what about the bord of ed,are they going to give back a week they take most of the tax doller.and to 501 yes you are so right,

  9. to all people of the great ridgewood wake up all your services are going to shit,they will not hire any workers to make ridgewood what it should look like that is nice and clean.but they have money for bull shit things.the workers in town do not make a lot of money but they love the job and they do great work,but they dont have the people.

  10. why do the police and fire depts get new workers,but from what i see all other depts dont get any one.I pay taxes for all services yes all.well make the fire dept plow snow and pick up cans of garbage when its slow.or cut grass other towns do it.do we need a all paid fire dept,humm.paramus dont.wake up people.

  11. so who f,.,k,ed up in money dept,hummm.do we need to out souce that dept.it looks that way.i think they shoud be the first to give the town a big furloughs,like 4 weeks in pay.well some one better start talking soon.

  12. and do all of you know that the ground workers will be laid off in the summer time,o,boy the grounds are going to look like doo,doo.

  13. 5:01 PM – I could not have said it better myself.

  14. “It could be worked out to be one day off a month for the second half of the year or we could shut down one day a week out of the 12 summer weeks for non-essential services. It would save $425,000.”
    Would the $425000 be for the 6 days(one day a month for 6 months)or the 12 days (one day a week for the 12 summer weeks)? Doesn’t make sense for both choices does it? Which services are “non-essential”?

  15. do we need a paid fire dept,24hr,s a day may be 12 hrs a day.how come parmus is the same size and more cars on the road at all times and they dont have a paid fire house,I like all the fire men but come on .its a lot of money.yes you do go to 7.000,calls a year but its not all fire calls.

  16. Just think, in a little over a month from now a small percentage of voters will pass the school budget causing our taxes to go up.

  17. This is a complete embarassment. How in the world can we be laying people off, making them take time without pay….during this dreadful economic climate?! If you drop the stupid bathroom project you will almost have enought money to stop the layoffs.

  18. to 935.yes thats so true.it is a shame,this must be stoped.

  19. Sorry folks but furloughs, layoffs, salary reducutions, no salary increases, smaller bonuses, etc are a sign of the times. It’s happening in private and public businesses. Sad, but true. We all need to live on a little tighter budget right now.

  20. privatize everything-

  21. 9:35’s comment makes sense. Why do the BR’s have to cost so much?!? I realize they are needed and am not arguing against them but could they not be built at a more modest price? I don’t think it’s right to ask the lower paid employees to take time off without pay while all the other big ticket projects being discussed (Graydon, Shedler). The administrators should also have to “give back.” A mere $425,000 a year is not that much to the Village but it is a lot of money to the employees who are paying a mortgate, buying groceries, etc. True savings to the taxpayer could be realized if the entire state/county and local govts. have their benefits/pay increases brought into line with those of the private sector — OMG!!! Tough times require difficult and unpopular choices. Yes, even a wage freeze for a year or two might be needed for all public servants (teachers too and their union should wake up.) Ouch, yep, it hurts — just ask my neighbor who was laid off after 18 years. He would have gladly contribued a little more toward his health benefits or have his wages capped for a year just to keep his job!

  22. Hey 8:17 PM

    What 12 hours of the day would you like the houses, stores, car accidents, smoke conditions to occur on. The 12 hours when the firefighters are on duty or when no one is staffing the firehouses?

    Good luck getting a volunteer fire department off the ground. There isn’t a single volunteer fire department in NJ that has enough staff. Sure you can roll the dice and get away with poor staffing 99%of the time but what happens on the 1%. Even as a career fire department Ridgewood does not meet national standards on apparatus staffing.

    BTW, not a firefighter

  23. Part of your homeowners insurance premium ‘rating’ considers the paid fire dept (as well as how far from a hydrant). If we had volunteers, your homeowners insurance policy would probably increase more than your taxes would go down. For the portion of your tax bill that pays for fire, police, garbage… we get a BARGAIN. The ripoff is the schools. When the ‘average’ Ridgewood property tax bill was 11,000, it broke down as follows:
    $1000 to the county, $2500 for municipal (Police, fire ,streets, garbage, shade tree) and $7500 for schools. The place to CUT the budget is the BOARD OF ED. That is where all the FAT is in the budget. The other depts are a BARGAIN.(resident since 1969)

  24. Government employees have it good,and if they like their relatively easy, well paid, jobs,they should sacrifice somthing like many of the tax payers are having to do.

  25. Habernickel is useless as a playing field. I agree with the writer who suggested selling it to a developer. 4 – 5 houses could generate at least $100,000 per year. No more paying for maintenance on a field that is just plain dangerous – unlevel. It is disgusting and covered with goose poop. Let the private sector take care of it.

  26. 2 million a year for police and fire dept. pensions? Better stop offering those pensions or in the future you will never get the budget ballanced.

  27. the cops and fire make a lot of money its time to cap the pay when is this going to stop.when in 10 years when they are make 20000,graand,come on.and the cop cars are so dirty cant they clean them at 2am.to 5am.not that much is going on at that time.you have time to do that.

  28. First of all we already have poor staffing on the fire dept. Three of the five fire trucks used during the day have 1 person on them. And secondly a vol. dept would be great if we had volunteers.

  29. Hey 5:17..you picked your career….now live with it!! Maybe you should have becaome a firefighter or a cop!

  30. 1:19- Just listen to that nasty townie whine, he knows that cushy, over paid, drive around and try to look busy, job is all but gone.And he’s scared to death to try to make it in the real world.

  31. Just to clarify…It is the BOE Grounds crew that may be laid off in July. At the same time an employee in the Parks and Rec department got a new title and a pay increase. Hiring freeze? no promotions? RIGHT! How is it possible to talk about layoffs or furloughs when you are making up new positions?

  32. wow, it’s scary how out of control this all sounds.

  33. Wow 10:29 Privatizing the grounds crew? To bring in who? A private contractor? I have a real issue with this. I have 2 children at GW School. I am not a contractor but I do have many friends who are. This is my issue. I know that private contractors bring in many illegal workers. There are no back round checks done on these people and they are only there for cheap labor. I have a REAL issue with this and the board of ed if they are going to put my children in this type of danger. Who ever runs this blog please keep me posted on this issue.

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