The 2014 budget process is of interest because the city finally has a permanent chief financial officer in place and a new finance director, in addition to the seven-member Citizens Budget Advisory Committee and a new budget consultant who is the former Union County finance director. The meeting Thursday was on budgets for the city's two largest groups, the Police and Fire divisions. Perhaps Councilman Cory Storch of the council's Finance Committee will give a recap on his blog or maybe the session will be aired on PCTV.
There are three more budget meetings. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, the meeting will be held in the Anne Louise Davis Room at the Plainfield Public Library and the topics will be Economic Development and Administration & Finance, which includes Information Technology & Media, the Health Division and the Purchasing Division. For the first time since 2005, the city has a cabinet-level person in charge of economic development, so that should be interesting.
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, also at the Plainfield Public Library, the budget deliberations will cover the Inspections and Recreation divisions within the Department of Public Works & Urban Development, as well as the mayor's office, which now includes the new position of chief of staff.
The last currently scheduled meeting is on Monday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in City Hall Library. The topic is listed as feedback from the council and the CBAC and "other" matters.
These deliberations are meant to lead to any changes in the introduced budget. The amendments must be published and a public hearing will take place before final budget passage. This process in recent years has drawn little citizen interest, but with a new administration and the current political climate, there may be more attention to budget matters.
The public hearing has been advertised for 8 p.m. on May 5 in Municipal Court, "at which time and place objections to the Budget and Tax resolution for the year 2014 may be presented by taxpayers or other interested persons."
From the legal notice: "Copies of the detailed budget are available in the office of Abubakar Jalloh , City Clerk, at the Municipal Building, 515 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield, New Jersey, (908) 753-3000, during the hours of 9:00(A.M.) to 4:00(P.M.)."