By Jacqueline Durett
SAYREVILLE—Sayreville’s 2017 budget passed with its original figures, much to the dismay of one resident who disagrees with several line items.
The final $57 million budget, unchanged from the introduced version in March, will raise taxes $53.46 on the average homeowner in the borough. The tax increase is a 3.9 cents per $100 of assessed value on the average assessed home of $144,500.
However, during the hearing on April 11, resident Barbara Kilcommons voiced opposition to the budget. She said that while the borough has made some smart decisions – such as the emergency radio and Duhernal water system purchases – she felt that the council had not done enough to rein in spending on vehicle purchases, debt and salaries.
In regards to salaries, she took issue with various raises, including those for the business administrator and the recreation director.
“This is ridiculous, and these salaries are ridiculous,” she said, adding that while other municipalities may pay comparable salaries, they are larger and their employees have more responsibilities.
She said the result has been incremental tax increases that hit young homeowners especially hard, adding that she has spoken with many who must work two jobs to keep up.
“You’re not thinking of them,” she said.
Kilcommons also said she feels for the seniors.
“They might as well just endorse their Social Security check to you people. That’s how bad it’s getting,” she said.
She also felt the borough could be doing more regarding shared services, not only with other municipalities, but also between its own departments, adding that she has repeatedly heard of borough officials being territorial with machines. She said she believes the borough approves too many requests for new vehicles.
Kilcommons also accused unnamed borough employees of not working their required hours every week.
She also took issue with the condition of town.
“This town is filthy. Everyone is talking about it,” she said.
As she wrapped up her comments, Kilcommons encouraged officials to reexamine the budget for additional cuts.
“Adopting this budget, I don’t know with a clear conscience how you people can sit up there and vote yes on this budget, give out these exorbitant raises and spend this money on capital that is totally unnecessary. I find it very, very sad for the residents of this town and I don’t mean to get on a soap box, but damn it, I’m ticked.”
Her comments elicited limited feedback from officials, but Chief Financial Officer Wayne Kronowski pointed out that the borough is $3.38 million under the appropriations cap.
Councilwoman Victoria Kilpatrick countered Kilcommons’ claims about approving department requests for purchases such as vehicles. She said the approved vehicles and machines are replacing items that are up to 25 years old.
During and after the meeting, Councilwoman Mary Novak stressed that the tax increase was due to reductions in revenue, not increased spending.