Berkeley End-Of-Year Tasks Show Tight Budget

Berkeley Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

BERKELEY – The annual end-of-year chore of carrying balances forward meant Berkeley needed to size up its dollars and cents, and officials said the township found itself working with an extremely tight budget with little room to cover a snow forecast.

“This was a very tight budget. And whenever there is snow forecast we get very very worried, so hopefully it doesn’t snow between now and end of the year so we can get through the 2016 budget, because it really is extremely, extremely tight,” said Mayor Carmen Amato.

Township Chief Financial Officer Fred Ebenau asked council this month to approve budget transfers totaling about $700,000. The transfer shifts money around to line items where those expenditures ended up slightly higher, using money from line items that ended up slightly lower, to make the budget work.

  “These are some areas that would have been a little short in the budget, but we are able to cover it with other money. It is not an emergency; it will not carry forward,” said Ebenau. “It is merely moving some funds from one account to another account. In the grand scheme of things it’s only about 1.5 percent of the entire budget which is pretty accurate to move that few funds around in that size budget.”

These transfers happen throughout the year as well. The resolutions approved this month include $349,000 at the December 19 meeting and $346,000 at the previous meeting, Ebenau said.

Amato said the budget transfer “closes out” 2016, but there was still time until the actual end of the year, and should snow fall, that would impact the budget.

The mayor said the budget is a testament to the extreme diligence of the treasurer and his staff.

“We are a firm believer that government should only collect money it needs to operate and we’ve been doing that the last few years, only collecting what we need to run the government, and as Fred just explained, about 1.5 percent deviation from the adopted budget from the transfers now is extremely extremely tight. Hopefully we have good weather,” said the mayor.