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FALL 2013

Aug 30

Written by: - Oliver Walling
8/30/2013 11:22 AM  RssIcon

Traditionally, here at the Jersey Shore we see Labor Day as the end of the summer season and the beginning of the fall season.  To those of us who work with fire districts, Labor Day marks the beginning of budget season.  Yes, it's time to think about the 2014 budget year.  In a recent discussion with DCA it appears that the 2014 Budget format will be substantially the same as 2013.  DCA will make a presentation at Wildwood so we should learn more then.  Remember, if you plan to spend any Capital funds in 2014 you must have voter approval for the appropriation, and it must be provided for in the Capital section of your 2014 Budget.  It will be best if you can submit your budget in November and schedule your public hearing in December.  Last year budgets were reviewed in the order of the date of the public hearing.  You could be scrambling at the last minute to get documents on their review checklist.  Have your attorney advise you on the time restrictions and try to have the introduction in November and the adoption in December.


Is your web site compliant?  As of February 2013, state law required you to maintain an up-to-date web site containing your public documents.  I did a sampling and believe that more than 50% of fire districts are not compliant.  I saw an audited financial statement where the commissioners were written up for not complying with the law.  There should be many more of these comments in the 2013 audits.  When the State sees the extent of non-compliance, you can be sure of some type of consequence.  Possible consequences could be non-approval of budgets, non-approval of financing from the Local Finance Board, and possibly charges filed against the commissioners individually.  Want me to review your web site?  Send me an email request and I will take a quick look and get back to you.  You may not want to open your documents to the public on the internet, but you have no choice, it's the law.

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