The Ridgewood Blog Brings a Free Market Laissez-faire Point of View to Local, New Jersey State and National Issues.
Ridgewood School Board Trustee Examines the School Budget Vote
Ridgewood School Board Trustee Saurabh Dani
Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood village council and Board of Ed members don’t run as Democrats or Republicans. We don’t need Muller report affecting our local elections for representatives who are making decisions which affect our affordability of our primary residence, I.e. our property taxes which pay for local roads, police, fire, leaves and garbage pickup, schools and education. We need to keep these elections and representatives independent / detached from national politics.
Please remember this fundamental reason for April/May vs November elections. it’s not just about timing or consolidation. It’s about our fundamental right to vote on the budget and to keep local elections independent from national influence.
Q1. Why school budget vote cannot happen in November?
Answer: Because schools start in September, the budget must be approved before September. The state law does not allow default vote on school budget with November elections. As long as the tax increase is within 2% plus waivers the budget does not get a vote by residents. Certain waivers can be used to go above 2%.
Q2. Isn’t the turnout low in April / May election?
Answer: Not when the issues matter and the residents are aware of those issues.During council elections right after high density housing approvals, the resident turnout was more than any November BoE vote counts.
Q3. If local elections are held in November, do we vote on two ballots?
Answer: NO – The local question and local representatives are printed after all national races and national / state questions. Since it’s not the same column (D/R – 1/2 for local elections), many voters can get confused and vote on party line across all rows, including local choices which are almost hidden because they are waaaaay at the bottom of the ballot.
Q4. Does moving everything to November consolidates elections?
Answer: No, moving to November does not consolidate. It eliminates the budget vote as long as the budget increase is up to 2% plus waivers, which can go beyond 2%. We do not get an option to vote on budget if the election is moved from April to November and the budget increase is up to 2% plus waivers.
Q5. With November election, Is the cap really 2%?
Answer: 2% cap can be waived using “assumed costs”, for example in 2018 Ridgewood used insurance premium waiver to exceed 2% with an assumption that the health care costs will go up by 17%, which in reality only increased by 1%.