Board appears poised to abandon proposed budget calendar change
The Gloucester County Board of Supervisors will likely rescind its proposed calendar-year-to-fiscal-year conversion of the way real estate is taxed and billed that it voted to implement last year.
According to a prepared statement written by the board’s chairman Phillip Bazzani, the intended purpose of the conversion, which was full transparency of the budget process, has been accomplished, and moving forward with the conversion would cause unnecessary confusion for residents. A public hearing on rescinding the proposed change will be held during the board’s March 7 meeting.
Chris Hutson, vice chairman of the board, read Bazzani’s statement during the board’s most recent meeting on Feb 7, which in part said, “The primary motivation behind the calendar-to-fiscal conversion was elimination of the so-called slush fund, or windfall effect that was created within the budget year when excess revenues were generated due to tax rate of valuation increase.” Bazzani, who was the main proponent behind the change, could not attend the meeting due to illness.
According to Bazzani, the windfall effect exists because such changes are applied retroactively to January of that budget year, and in the past, the board did not have a clear line of sight to how these excess revenues were expended. “I now strongly believe, and I am entirely convinced, that the calendar-to-fiscal conversion is now no longer needed,” Bazzani wrote.
He said that, under county administrator Brent Fedors, “our budget process last year was the most transparent and understandable we have seen in the modern history of Gloucester County.” Bazzani said supervisors were able to spend hours upon hours working the budget, which he added was a task they had little opportunity to do in the past.