Redevelopment Agency introduces budget

The Redevelopment Agency introduced a $1.795 million budget for 2015 at its Oct. 1 meeting.

Treasurer Frank Ruggiero explained to commissioners that the budget will go to the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for technical review and hopefully will be ready for approval at the agency’s next meeting, Nov. 5.

UPDATED: The Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved the 2015 budget at its Feb. 4 meeting.

This year the state has a completely different format for the budget, Ruggiero said, and the capital grant from the city has been reclassified. You can view the proposed 2015 budget here and the 2014 budget can be accessed via this previous post.

The agency is essentially a pass-through entity of the city, tasked with directing redevelopment in downtown Rahway. Some municipalities designate their city council as redevelopment agency but Rahway created the agency in 2001 . Much of the agency’s budget pays off debt for construction of the library in 2002 and other projects, such as Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts.

The agency does not impose or collect taxes but funding from the city includes previously approved annual capital lease payments related to the 10-year-old Rahway Public Library. The agency is overseen by seven unpaid commissioners, appointed by the mayor with consent from City Council.

Ruggiero said the budget anticipates a salary for the new executive director based on the higher end of the range that was advertised ($50,000 to $70,000), while removing the higher salary for the previous executive director ($143,264). The agency has no full-time employees but three on an as-needed basis: director, secretary and treasurer.

Total appropriations were budgeted at $1.45 million this year, estimated at $1.49 million, and proposed at $1.795 million for 2015.

Total operating expenses were budgeted at $116,928 for 2014 but estimated to be $145,216, so for 2015 they’re budgeted at $213,334.

Total debt service was $1.1 million for this year and budgeted at $1.14 million for 2015.

On the revenue side, redeveloper fees are budgeted at $100,000  again for next year, although they were estimated at $145,000 in 2014.

The Redevelopment Agency’s facade program will see an increase for 2015, from $25,000 to $40,000 after an estimated $38,746 in 2014. Among the storefronts that participated in the facade program this year were Rahway Chicken on East Cherry Street, Fearless Productions and Farmers Insurance, both on Irving Street.

Also mentioned in the 2015 budget (page 2 of the questionnaire, Page N-3) is that four months of severance, in the amount of $47,754.69, will be paid to the previous executive director, who resigned in September.