taxesA first look at this year’s budget, and public confusion over the impact of a series of proposed bonds, dominated Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the Red Bank council.

The governing body also moved toward the creation of a new $90,000-a-year job at borough hall: information technology director.

• Here’s the draft budget: RB Draft Budget 040815. Local taxpayers would have to pony up $11.81 million of the $22.23 million spending plan.

Bottom line: the owner of a home assessed at the borough average $365,405 would pay $93.28 more in municipal taxes this year, though Councilman Mike DuPont, who heads the finance committee, said officials are working to soften the hit before the spending plan is adopted next month.

“This will certainly decrease,” DuPont said 3.1-percent rate jump.

The increase was largely driven by a drop of almost five percent in the net valuation of taxable properties in town, and the impact of negotiated labor contracts with borough workers, he said.

Salaries and wages are shown as up five percent from 2014, to $8 million.

DuPont said the Menna Administration would hold a public session at which department heads would be available to answer questions about their pieces of the spending plan, though no date has been set.

By law, the council must also hold a formal public hearing before it can vote on the budget. That’s scheduled for May 13.

• As a number of residents complained about a lack of clarity in documents, the council moved ahead on amendments to existing bond issues to reflect a net $1 million in increased costs for long-planned projects and estimates for some newer ones.

The four new ordinances altered the terms of bonds dating as far back as 2006.  Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said the bonds reflect increases in the cost of a bulkhead at North Prospect Avenue; increased costs for new equipment at the water plants; higher costs for a radio tower downed during Hurricane Sandy; newly discovered oil contamination at Bellhaven Natural Area; and an estimated $400,000 for  new roof on 90 Monmouth Street, the 18-year-old borough hall, among other items.

Here are the ordinances: RB Bond 2015-11 RB Bond 2015-12 RB Bond 2015-13 RB Bond 2015-14

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, an accountant, told redbankgreen Thursday that she found the changes so hard to follow that she created an unofficial cheat sheet in an attempt to clarify where the cost increases were arising. Here it is: Amending Ordinances April 2015

Because “a lot of these things are maintenance,” Schwabenbauer, one of two Republicans on the majority-Democrat council, said she was inclined to vote in favor of  the bonds. But first, she said she wants to be sure that the town is getting work at the best price.

Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, the other Republican, voted no on the motions to introduce all but one of the amendments: 2015-11.

• The council also introduced, unanimously, a measure to create a full-time job: director of information technology. RB IT Director 040815

The job would pay a minimum salary of $90,000, according to a separate ordinance. RB Salaries 040815

Proponents of the move included Schwabenbauer, Burnham and Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, all of whom serve on the education and technology committee.

The iT director would would to integrate the different technology platforms used by borough hall, the library and the police department, while dealing with system glitches and overseeing the creation of a new town website, Schwabenbauer said.

The committee was “mindful about the added expenses,” she said. But the town has been paying its current IT vendor an hourly rate of $120, which jumps to $130 in some cases, whereas the full-timer would cost the town the equivalent of $76.74 an hour, she said.

A consultant would also be hired, to work up to eight hours a week, to fill in when the IT director is absent, officials said.

Schwabenbauer said the town has a candidate in mind for the no-bid IT job, but she declined to identify him because she was unsure if he had given notice at his present job. Vincent Light, who has been working on the computers at borough hall for the last year or two, would fill the consultancy, she said.