Dog and Pony Show

Last night marked the first of many promised open public forums on the county budget. According to the story in The News, the freeholders diligently went over every penny. Bob Owens has a more cynical point of view.

Freeholder Director Lou Magazzu ran the meeting. I was pleased to see that he permitted the public (about a dozen folks) to ask questions at the end of each department.

What was painfully obvious to me is that budgeting at the county level is not a serious endeavor.

Bob closed his analysis of the entire evening – sorry, but you will have to go to his blog to read it, and it really is worth the time – with these thoughts…

It was evident that the county does not have a thorough budget process. Each department is coming in with inflated budgets that are being “cut” to make it look like sacrifice is occurring. Yet, the budgets are still, for the most part, greater than this year’s budget, and certainly not pared down in this time of financial trouble. That does not reduce the tax levy.

Matt Dunn asked me what I thought of this after the meeting. I related to him that it was like cutting the pencils and paper from a school budget. Sure, it’ll save some cash, but if one is going to prune $4-8 million, salaries have to be addressed. That discussion was off the table this evening.

Hopefully I will be able to make some of the future meetings – I had a commitment at the Elks Sports Frolic. Maxie Petit was the honoree of the year, and deservedly so.

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5 Responses to Dog and Pony Show

  1. JamesRSauro says:

    You are absolutely correct about this being a dog and pony show. Fact. When you cut someones budget you are in essence cutting surplus. The only way this can be done effectively is to find out exactly what was spent in their department and cut the spending a percentage. When a department head figures a budget they figure higher than what is needed. Just read the paper today and see the money’s that are left over. Matt Dunn isn’t stupid he should be able to see right through this scam. I could go on and on but it won’t matter. Nothing changes either in the county the newspapers or the people. They have no clue how to make a budget…….

  2. overeducated says:

    Was that you with the long hair in the ponytail?
    I thought it was, just not feeling up to par last night.
    Dinner was great and nice to see Maxie get it.

    Dr. beebe was in classic form last night

  3. WuLi says:

    That was me at table 5. I was happy to see Maxie get it, and Beebe was in rare form. Plow up, plow down…

  4. Oinkforfreedom says:

    Say MW fans!! We need to show up at these budget hearings. My camera and I were buzy and I thank Robert for his reporting. It is a dog and pony show. Folks get laid off and the lawyers get laid with $$$$$$

  5. Hang 'em High says:

    Not sure if Jack Hummel is stirring a bunch of garbage as usual in his “Ben Column” but yesterday he wrote a little ditty about Don Olbrich going to some goofy convention or seminar in Hawaii… I suppose that means that the County MUST be in great financial shape. Guess Don will learn a ton about how they clear snow from the roads in Hawaii or how we in NJ can deal with lava flows across our highways. Wonder how much this is going to cost us. I have an idea… why not fire a few more county workers so that the entire Freeloader board can go along with Don.

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