VENTNOR - The Board of Commissioners did not introduce a 2010 budget at Thursday night's meeting, but said the tentative plan includes employee layoffs and furloughs.
After department heads submitted their spending plans for this year and the numbers were crunched, there was a $2.5 million deficit in the 2010 spending plan, "which is very, very severe," Commissioner John Piatt said.
The chief financial officer then worked with department heads, administrative staff and unions, and managed to decrease the potential deficit to a little more than $500,000, Piatt said.
The city has submitted a layoff plan to the state Department of Community Affairs, but no details will be released until the plan is approved, Piatt said. The commissioners believed that waiting until May to introduce the budget will give them more time to learn about the state's plan.
The budget will be introduced at the May 20 meeting.
Commissioner Stephen Weintrob raised objections, saying he put together budget figures for public works and the water and sewer departments, but the CFO never responded to him. The numbers he saw on the tentative budget were "not even close to being correct."
Weintrob also said he objects to the discourtesy the CFO showed him by not responding to the figures he submitted.
But Piatt said many costs, such as health insurance premiums, are fixed and cannot be adjusted.
After the meeting, Piatt said he hopes the commissioners can make more spending reductions while keeping the taxes stable. Ventnor had a history of rapidly increasing taxes, and his team was elected to put a halt to it, he said.
This year's budget will be harder to construct than last year's because of unexpected costs, Piatt said. The city self-insures for health care, and some employees had serious claims this year on top of ordinary premium increases. The city also had some operational emergencies, such as snowstorms, that cost more than expected.
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