Borough touts cost-saving strategies amid financial struggles

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BELMAR — A frequent theme at this year’s council meetings has been that the borough is in need of extra funds to pay off debts accrued over the past several years.

On Oct. 1, the mayor and several council members focused on cost-saving measures, following news that Belmar will have to repay the federal government for a $1 million FEMA overpayment for boardwalk reconstruction.

“We did have some significant savings in the past 10 months,” Mayor Mark Walsifer said, announcing that over the course of the year the borough has been able to cut 3,000 hours in overtime, leading to a savings of $110,000. Reworking health benefits for borough employees, he added, has also amounted in a savings of nearly $500,000.

At the same meeting, it was announced that the borough would be tabling bond ordinance 2019-32, allowing the borough to appropriate $7,550,000 and go out to bond for $1,673,350. 

Of the $7,550,000, $6,400,000 was slated to go towards work on the Lake Como Outfall pipe project, in which the borough is expecting to receive $6,185,000 in funding from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Flood Hazard Risk Reduction & Resiliency Grant.

Another $1,150,000 would have gone towards the borough’s Streetscape Revitalization Project.

According to the mayor, the last thing the borough needed was to go into additional debt, of which the borough has more than $30 million worth.

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