LOWER TOWNSHIP HOLDS BUDGET WORKSHOP, LARE WANTS ZERO INCREASE

Plans were presented to lower the introduced 2.6 cent increase in Lower Township during a council meeting on Monday. Deputy Mayor Kevin Lare voiced his opinion that there should be no tax increase. The township is already proposing $1.9 million of its surplus and is going to be left with $1 million going into the next fiscal year. Lare presented a plan that would essentially strip the department of public works and police department of all overtime, allow for a zero tax increase, and not cut any public employees. Lare said his plan would give the public works department three additional men on the street.

Police Chief Ed Donahue was at the meeting and said it would be next to impossible for this proposal to work. He feels the township is already understaffed is his police department and said he had to “juggle” things around to keep enough man power on the street. Three officers have been removed through attrition in recent years.

Lare said that the county has been using a no-overtime policy over recent years and the township could perhaps adopt a flex-schedule, in the event of a storm. This would avoid overtime but allow for people to work at different hours. Combined, Lare proposed cutting over $200,000 in overtime between the two departments.

The proposal also called for a 10 precent reduction of non-salaries expenses across all departments. This would allow the township, according to Lare, to achieve a zero increase and not have to make any cuts.

Mayor Michael Beck said the council agreed that overtime needs to be looked at more strongly, but does not believe it is resonsible to remove all overtime dollars. Beck told Donahue the two sides should sit down and talk again in the near future.

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