SENKELESKI READY FOR SUMMIT OF SORTS

CodecarAmong the suggestions: share vehicles among departments. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On Monday, Red Bank’s borough council plans to roll out its 2010-11 budget.

Two days later, the public will have its first chance to kick the tires and ask how it was designed and built.

Kim Senkeleski will be there. But the one-time GOP council candidate will be armed with some blueprints of her own, in the form of several dozen specific suggestions she’s gathered from taxpayers about how to cut costs and bring taxes down.

Though in format the event isn’t exactly the taxpayer summit she had sought, Senkeleski suggests you make the meeting, too.

“We want as many people as possible,” she said.

The more people involved, she says, the better the chances at making a difference to the digits on your tax bill.

Over the past couple of months, Senkeleski gathered input and ideas — shrinking the borough’s fleet of vehicles, implementing spending caps in contracts and closing down one or more of the borough’s firehouses are just a couple — and laid them all out in a document. The suggestions have been handed out to all department heads to determine their feasibility.

Senkeleski said those ideas, which also include ways to increase revenues, will be focused on at Wednesday night’s budget meeting.

Councilman Michael DuPont, who heads the council’s finance committee, is on vacation, so information about the what the budget will call for in terms of spending, cuts and taxes was not available.

But because of a large cut in state aid, not to mention a hefty dose of doom-and-gloom rhetoric from DuPont and the council, it’s expected to be one lean spending plan — and taxes could just as well go up despite cost-cutting measures, officials have warned.

Which is why Wednesday night’s meeting is so important, Senkeleski said. The council and department heads may not think of every way to balance the budget, so getting a diverse group of taxpayers with ideas of their own could have an impact before the budget is formally adopted, she said.

“There are people out there who want to be involved,” she said.

If you’re one of those people, comment on the budget will be held at 7p Wednesday, April 28, at borough hall.

Here’s the idea list: taxpayer-summit-ideas-final