Our deficit for next year, earlier reported at just under $7.7 million, will now be more in the $5 - $6 million range come Tuesday's meeting. That's a long way from the Act 1 limit of $3.36 million, not to mention not even being close to a flat budget. The budget will pass on Tuesday night as a matter of process, but it is far from being our "final" budget for 2010-2011. There are two key issues which remain a question at the moment, and they are the reason our deficit still looms so large.
First is the status of a labor agreement with our Support Staff (NESPA). The Board still needs to receive and digest the report from the State-appointed Fact Finder, then decide what path to pursue next. Obviously this will have a major impact on next year's budget, but we're probably about 2 weeks away from that decision.
Second is the cost of our health care benefits which are soaring 19% for next year. If our new insurance broker is doing his job that huge hike should come back down into single digits, and that will have a 7-digit impact on our budget. We are expecting a favorable update on this situation also within the next 2 weeks.
So the budget you see on Tuesday night will be nothing like the one which will replace it in a few weeks from now. And just to be on the safe side, the Board continues to examine other budget reduction opportunities by vetting the infamous LIST (see next post for an update on that).
When you open Wednesday's newspaper you will likely see that Neshaminy's Board has adopted a "proposed final" budget which promises significant tax hikes for residents, and you will hear gasps and screams from your neighbors. But I ask you to remain calm as this is just a picture in time, and the picture will change drastically in the very near future.
You're probably wondering what you should do next? Easy . . . be informed, remain vigilant, come to board meetings, and continue to make your feelings known. And please forward this post to your friends and neighbors so they understand what's going on.
Whatever you do, don't ignore the situation. Whether you are a parent, a tax payer, or both, you need to be involved. I'm asking you for your patience and a vote of confidence, but by no means should you sit at home and do nothing. This Board will have some difficult decisions to make over the next 6 weeks, and you need to be a part of it.