Monday, March 27, 2017

CBAC Schedule Released

This year's schedule for budget deliberations is a tight three-session review of the city's three charter-mandated departments, with one extra session if necessary.

The 2017 budget prepared by the administration is expected to be introduced was introduced at the March 13 regular council meeting. A public hearing on the introduced budget will be held at the April 10 City Council meeting, 8 p.m. in Municipal Court. Once it is introduced, the governing body can modify it before adoption. The largest portion of the budget, for Public Affairs & Safety, covers the Police and Fire divisions and will be reviewed by the council and CBAC on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. On April 12, it's Administration & Finance and on April 13, Public Works & Urban Development,. same time and location. Click the links to see all the divisions in the latter two.

The additional deliberation date, if necessary, is Tuesday, April 25, also in 7 p.m. in City Hall Library. The CBAC Presentation/Recommendations will be part of the City Council's May 1 agenda-fixing session, 7:30 p.m. in Municipal Court, followed on May 8 by possible adoption of the budget and/or any amendments at the regular council meeting, 8 p.m. in Municipal Court. If necessary, the adoption date may be May 15, at 7 p.m. in City Hall Library.

Past deliberations have been drawn out over several weeks and were sometimes confrontational, but with a council majority favorable to the administration of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, the process will likely be smoother.

Each council member named a person to serve on the CBAC, They are Siddeeq El-Amin, nominated by Council President Rebecca Williams; Geraldine Agurs, nominated by Councilman Barry Goode; Sean McKenna, nominated by Councilwoman Joylette Mills-Ransome; Alsan Diouf, nominated by Councilman Cory Storch; Robin Bright, nominated by Councilman Charles McRae; Ray Edwards, nominated by Councilwoman Bridget Rivers; and Jane Peterson, nominated by Councilwoman Diane Toliver.

The CBAC usually names a chairman who delivers the group's recommendations after the deliberations are finished. The public is welcome to attend any of the meetings.



  1. How does the process work, The budget is not that clear on how they will be able to trim and save money. The details are not elaborate on other expenses under every department

  2. will fire budget have salary for captain and fire chief?

    1. budget has typically broken out all salaries, including fire and police, by title (no individual names) - see no reason why they wouldn't do the same this year.

  3. Tim - the introduced budget document is more of a high level - not 30,000 feet but maybe 15,000. It shows revenues and expenditures with some detail but not at a granular level. This is a standard state mandated budget document. For the detail, I am sure you can go to the city clerk's office and ask to see the full binder(s). Some of the council members had them at the last council meeting - they are typically 300-400 pages with tabs etc.

    The process was pretty accurately outlined in Bernice's post above. I am sure if you search CBAC on this blog you will have a number of posts that provide additional information. One thing to note is that city and fire make up the vast majority of the city budget - including pensions and healthcare. Add long term debt service to that and the remaining expenditures are many in qty but small in dollars. Also - this budget does not include education - which is included in your taxes but is done by the BOE and not the city administration. The city could hold/cut taxes and your property taxes could still increase if BOE or Union county raise their portions.

  4. The limited time allotted to CBAC deliberations, a few hearings, coupled with the narrow view of the budget in the Municipal Data Sheet (or the big fat binder for that matter), makes the committee's work of dubious value.

    As a former two-term member of CBAC, I feel confident saying it has become more political at the same time its actual perspective on day by day municipal operations is virtually nil.

    Because a budget is more than a simple amalgamation of numbers, my suggestion is that CBAC's work begin sooner, with a round of departmental hearings set for 6-months following passage of the current year budget. This would help committee members, and the public, better understand how the budget affects operations, and how operations impact the budget. If CBAC's analysis is to have any real value it must stem from something more substantial than a shotgun marriage with the budget.

  5. Timothy, The CBAC is an advisory group only. It cannot enact any changes to the budget. Only the council can make changes to the budget.

    Alan, I agree that the CBAC should be engaged sooner. But you must admit that the CBAC did some good work by making departments accountable for their spend, surfacing the 500 pound gorilla in the room (OT pay), and looking at services that had become outdated (bi-lingual daycare).

    I do agree that there were people who were put on the CBAC purely for political reasons. These people were not the sharpest knife in the draw. They advocated across the board cuts not taking into account that the cuts were going to affect services they use. They had no knowledge about budgets, and just did what they were told. People like this will always be appointed by council members who have no interest in Plainfield, only in self political interest.

    Hope to see you at the meetings. -Jeanette