Page A8 Thursday, April 15, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
AVERAGE TAXPAYER TO PAY $5,161 AGAIN IN '99
Mountainside Property Tax Rate Expected to Stay Flat This Year By KIMBERLY A. BROADWELL
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
TheMayor andBoroughCouncilof Mountainside recently introduced their $7.3 million municipal budget, which is expected to keep the overall property tax rate flat at $3.33 per $100 of assessed value for borough residents.
According to Borough AdministratorGregory Bonin,themunicipalportion of the tax bill remains at 81 cents. This translates into a municipal tax bill of $810 for a house assessed at $100,000.
Mr. Bonin added that the county portion of the tax bill has not yet announced, but that it was expected to stay flat at 88 cents. The school tab remains unchanged at $1.64.
The 1999 spending plan represents a $170,000 increase over last year's $7.2 million budget. Currently, there is $3,606,608 within the borough's revenues, leaving $3,775,181 to be raised through taxes.
According to Michelle Swisher, Finance Director for the borough, the average Mountainside house assessment equals $155,000, which translates into a yearly tax of $5,161.
Mr. Bonin stressed that although the spending plan went up about $170,000for publicservices,thetaxes remainedthesame. Henotedthatthere is increased spending in the Recreation Department, as well as the Rescue Squad.
TheBoroughAdministratorpointed out that the Recreation Department is providing more programs for all residents in the borough, including offerings such as senior exercise and adult fitness classes, and an after school program for youth.
According to Recreation Supervisor Frank Masella, new programs for thespringalso includeT'aiChiclasses and a morning aerobics class.
Mr. Bonin stated that the borough has allotted an extra $5,000 to the rescue squad, and has taken over the day-to-day expenses of running the squad. More money is being allocated to the squad for supplies, equipment, and/or other items deemed necessary by the squad.
Mr. Bonin explained that the borough now pays for the utilities, gas and insurance for the squad. He further noted that the municipality pays $4,000 less a year for workers' compensation insurance through the Joint Insurance Fund than the rescue squad
had been paying last year. The Administratorsaidtheborough is additionally picking up the tab for gasoline costs incurred by both the Rescue Squad and the Fire Department. He observed that the borough pays less for gasoline by going directly through the gasoline company than it would if Mountainside was to go through the county, where the municipality would have to pay an additional tax.
Also noted was the current application to the county regarding the 1999 Project PocketParkProgram.According to Sue Winans, Recreation Director, the borough applied for a matching grant of $39,000 through this program.
The grant is being sought to cover the cost of resurfacing the tennis courts, replacing the baseball field's warning track and the fence along the ballfield's right outfield, renovating thefitnesstrail andaddingnewcountysupplied exercise stations.
Mr. Bonin and Ms. Winans pointed out that because Children's Specialized Hospital also uses the fitness trail, the borough is providing $8,000 in funding toward the project. The additional $31,000 will be paid through the borough's Recreation Trust Fund, which was a carry over from when the Recreation Commission disbanded.
Both the Administrator and Recreation Director maintained that taxpayers will pay nothing for all of the improvements.
According to the figures listed in the budget, Mountainside is expecting a surplus in 1999 of $1,600,000 from such line items as licenses, permits, municipal court fines, parking meters, interest on investments and interest and costs on taxes and assessments. Last year, the borough's surplus equaled $1,500,000.
Also, the borough is putting $870,000 in reserve for uncollected taxes, as opposed to the $804,000 that was allotted for last year.
The borough has also spent more in salaries for the 1999 budget, including the addition of a part-time administrative assistant, who also serves as an EmergencyMedicalTechnicianfor the Rescue Squad when needed; a full-time Recreation Supervisor, and a part-time TV 35 Coordinator.
The borough has also increased spending for its employees by adding office supplies such as computers and
telephones. According to recent reports which haveappeared inTheWestfieldLeader
and The Times of Scotch Plains
Fanwood,theproposedMountainside school budget of $8,810,156 carries a school tax levy of $7,657,622.
Frances Tolley, the School Board Secretary, said local taxes account for 87.1 percent of the school budget, with the remainder coming from state aid, tuition revenues, surplus and miscellaneous revenue.
When asked about the borough's latest spending plan, Mayor Robert F. Viglianti stated, "I am very proud of the budget. It not only kept the tax rate flat, but it also increased services to the borough residents. This year, we have opened the new community room, expanded recreational programs,have givenmorefinancialsupport to the Rescue Squad, and have improved a couple of roads."
Mountainside'sgoverningbodywill hold a public hearing on the budget on Tuesday, April 20, at 8 p.m.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE A-3
Deregionalized HS System Working Well for Mtsd.
Best Friends To Hold Pet Adoption Fest
NORTH PLAINFIELD — Best Friends Pet Resorts and Salons will host the "Find a New Best Friend" Pet Adoption Fest on Saturday and Sunday, April 17 and 18.
Seven animal rescue groups from acrosstheregion willhelpmatchfamilies with more than 175 pets throughout the weekend. The group will have between 50 and 60 dogs and cats on site each day.
Visitors will have an opportunity to meet some of the many pets available, and rescue organization representatives will be on hand to answer questions andhelpprospectiveadopters complete applications.
Each rescue organization has its own policies, although most require a screening interview before placing a pet, and most charge an adoption fee, whichcovers medicalandrelatedcare expenses.
Each adopter will receive a pet "starter kit," with information on caring for a new pet, gift certificates valuedat$100, goodtowardsBestFriends services, and pet food provided by The Iams Company.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Best Friends Pet Resort, located at 815 Route 22, West, in North Plainfield, across from the high school football field.
For information and directions, please call (888) FOR-PETS, or (908) 822-9200.
Committee Prepares Memorial Day Parade
SCOTCH PLAINS—ParadeCommittee Chairman Joe Duff has announced that plans are now underway for the 1999 Scotch Plains-Fanwood Memorial Day Parade, to be held on Monday, May 31.
All civic, school and community organizations are invited to participate in theparade,which paystributetoAmerican military personnel from all wars who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The theme for this year's parade is "Take Pride in America." Trophies will be awarded to those entries which best depict this theme.
Anyone interested in participating in the parade may call Carolyn Sorge of the Memorial Day Parade Committee at the Scotch Plains Municipal Building at (908) 322-6700, Extension No. 314.
Area 'Y' 60 & Better Set Plans Trip to Baltimore
WESTFIELD —TheWestfield"Y" has announced that it will sponsor an overnight trip for the "60 and Better Set" to Inner Harbor in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday, June 17 and 18.
Highlights of the trip will include a visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania,anafternoonvisit totheInnerHarbor, anovernightstayin Baltimore, and a tour the following day of Annapolis.
The price of the trip is $175 per person for a double room, $220 per person for a single room, and $160 per person for a triple room. This will include transportation, the Longwood Gardens tour, dinner and overnight accommodations at the Best Western in Baltimore, breakfast the following morning, and a guided tour of Annapolis. Lunch for both days must be selfprovided.
Westfield "Y" membership is not required for participation. Reservations are being accepted through Friday, May 7.
For more information, please call Karen F. Simon at (908) 233-2700, or visit the Westfield "Y" at 220 Clark Street in Westfield to register.
Lillian Corsi to Attend Salvation Army Event
WESTFIELD — Lillian W. Corsi, Director of Human Services for the Town of Westfield, has been invited by the Salvation Army to attend its National Convention in Pasadena, California, on Wednesday, April 28.
In addition to being Director of Human Services, Mrs. Corsi is also a Service Unit Secretary for The Salvation Army serving the towns of Westfield,MountainsideandGarwood.
The invitation was made in recognition of Mrs. Corsi's work on behalf of The Salvation Army, particularly its holiday kettle campaign. Eighty percent of the donations received during this campaign remain in the service unit communities.
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ing together to make the best high school they can."
Gayll Fisher, Vice President of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, described Mr. Geiger "as involved in every step of the way" on decisions that affect the high school. She pointed out that he has been involved in the search for a new superintendent and that his comments were valued particularly because Mountainside had recently gone through the same process.
The arrangement between the two districts, she said, is nothing but a "win-win situation for everybody the school, the students." Ms. Fisher has a daughter attending the high school.
"From a practical stand-point, we have more students so we are more able to do more things," she said.
And, both the Berkeley Heights and Mountainside students are anxious to meet new students by the time they reach high school, she explained.
Governor Livingston Principal Ben Johnson said that once Mountainside students get to the high school no one differentiates them by where they reside.
"It is like two towns sending their students to one high school. It is no different," he said.
The principal said although the students are important, he has been particularly pleased by what the improvements the Board of Education has approved since it took over the high school new all-weather track, new football field, new library.
"Everybody seems to agree that the high school is important, no matter where you live," he stated.
Mr. Geiger, of Mountainside, agreed, "The best part about this (arrangement) is that the two districts and two boards of education see lots of possibilities. We are both looking forward to building up the high school. As far as Mountainside is concerned, we are all behind that."
Girl Scout Council Seeks Volunteers to Share Skills
WESTFIELD – The Washington Rock Girl Scout Council (WRGSC) is marking National Volunteers Week by inviting all adults to become volunteers or leaders in the scouting organization.
Volunteers will have an opportunity to share their life experiences and skills with young girls, and to influence their development, build their self-esteem and increase their knowledge of the world, according to WRGSC spokeswoman Debra Lampert-Rudman.
Many activities are planned for Girl Scouts in the area, including sporting events, overnight trips, and other fun
and educational programs. Volunteers are needed in Union County, particularly in Elizabeth, and every effort will be made to place people in their hometowns, the spokeswoman said.
WRGSC has been serving communities in Union, Middlesex and SomersetCounties for42years.Among the communities served by the Council are Westfield, Fanwood, Scotch Plains and Mountainside.
For more information, please call WRGSC Membership Director Terrill Bonderoff at (908) 232-3236, Extension No. 218.
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