Letter to the Editor: Township Surplus Disappearing Act

To the Editor,

Finally, at the ninth Hopewell Township budget meeting on Monday, March 20, and one short week before introducing his budget, Mayor Kuchinsky and his team revealed, for the first time, his closely guarded secret:  what is the 2017 tax increase and how much of our almost $12 million surplus is being used to mask the pain?

Your taxes are going up close to 2%. Your surplus is going down by over 34%. That’s over $4 million, over 1/3 of our total surplus, being used to prop up this year’s spending plan. That’s close to 20% of the over $23.3 million 2017 spending plan being paid for by our rainy day fund. That’s like using your savings to pay for your lifestyle. Sooner or later, you know that it will not end well.

Of course, rosy predictions of unknown future events were used to justify this risky use of our emergency fund (think 1929 before the Crash).

The State of New Jersey cautions against using more surplus in a spending plan than was returned to the surplus in unspent funds from the previous year.  This 2017 spending plan blatantly violates that prescription by using over 110% more in rainy day money in 2017 than was returned to surplus in unspent funds in 2016.

On Monday, March 27, at 7:00 PM, the Hopewell Township Committee will introduce this magical spending plan at its regular Township Committee meeting.  It is magical because it is making our surplus disappear.

Harvey Lester,

Titusville, N.J.

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