Gloucester Township BOE Approves Budget With Confusing 6-1 Vote

The budget carries a 4.9 percent tax levy increase.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
By Aris M Theofanopoulos

The Gloucester Township Public School Board passed the 2014-2015 budget Monday night by a 6-1 vote, increasing the local tax levy 4.9%.

The increase is over $3 million from the previous year’s budget.

If not for a little confusion during the discussion, the vote would've been unanimous.

Board Member Dominic Gagliardi was the lone vote against the budget, and Board Member William Fontanez was absent.

Gagliardi said he approved the budget’s details, but thought it was inappropriate to vote for it if the public did not have access to the document.

After the vote, other board members pointed out that the budget was advertised in the Courier Post on April 24. Gagliardi said if he was aware of the advertisement, then we would have made the vote unanimous.

Members of the public also voiced their disapproval of the board approving the budget, stating it was inappropriate of the board to vote for the budget when the public was not aware of what the bills were for.

This gave the board pause, but after a very brief deliberation regarding potentially delaying the voting, they continued their scheduled vote as planned.

About 94% of the budget increase is going towards health benefits of all staff members in the school district, contracted salaries, and instructional supplies.

Board members stated numerous times that the lack of state funds caused the increase to be higher than usual. When there is a lack of state funds, it is the taxpayer's job to deal with the remainder, Superintendent of Schools John Bilodeau said. The state net increase for the 2014-2015 school year is $21,251.

The annual increase for the average home in Gloucester Township assessed at $195,000 will be $43.48, according to Bilodeau.

Pete Heinbaugh April 30, 2014 at 06:53 PM
Caring4GT: You are correct. "Banked Cap" (which is one of the embarrassingly large number of legal loopholes that allow a government entity to raise taxes more than the 2% capped limit, and still not be required place its budget on the ballot) is being used.
Paul J. DiBartolo April 30, 2014 at 07:33 PM
BTW, I believe that the regular vote for school budget increases was done away with by Christie when he passed the guaranteed 2% increase. The only time the vote goes to the public is when the BOE wants more than the guaranteed 2%. If the public turns it down, the budget goes through at the defaulted 2% - the council is now out of the picture. Additionally, it appears that unused increases are stored for later years and when added together, as long as they don't exceed the yearly 2% amount, are guaranteed. It's obviously a political ploy and you can see how it is used to hornswoggle the people by our mayor-in-hiding.
Bea Coyle April 30, 2014 at 08:46 PM
They did table their vote on the sidewalk Grant that Vernick & Remmick wanted the Board to sign off on. It would put a sidewalk from Dori Court to the Lilly School. No one understood why that was needed .Parents where questioning why we need "Safe Walks to School" if our children are bused and no one wants kids walking on that road even if there is a sidewalk. When they were asked how much is the total Grant they are signing off on, they said they did not know. What else is in the Grant ,again they said they did not know. How these people vote for things they do not understand and can't answer questions about is just plain amazing or downright stupid. So the sidewalk Grant was tabled until the next episode. They also said they were sending some of our students, Special Ed.,to the Real Center ,which is not a State Approved School. Summer school kids can go there too, Acerba said they offer an approved course but are not a State Approved school...so go figure out how that can be? You leave these BOE Meetings with more questions than answers and they think they are doing a good job.
Paul J. DiBartolo May 01, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Look Bea, when the town will sign off on an engineering firm that states it measures yellow-light timing (which should be measured down to the milli-second in order to be accurate) using the unaided eye and a stop-watch, all this in the digital age, you know that something stinks in Gloucester Township. Now, if Remington and Vernick say we need a sidewalk, to hell with the facts, get out of the way because they need the money. Remember, they have to recover the $64,000 they funneled to Team-Mayer to get these contracts. On top of that, they also need to recoup money they spent in other towns where they were shot down (aka, banned from bidding in Medford for four years due to improper political contributions) so, where better to recoup that ill-spent money than in Gloucester Township?
Big Daddy 1 May 02, 2014 at 08:19 AM
I noticed that State Street, which is a long road within a development, was recently repaved. Maybe it needed it. But with so many roads that are heavily traveled in poor condition for years (like College Drive), it makes you wonder if somebody "connected" lives there (or near Lilly School).


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