PLYMOUTH ‚?? Borough Coordinator Joe Mazur stuck to his no-copies-allowed position Wednesday when The Times Leader asked to see the proposed 2013 budget, but he readily allowed photographs of the proposal.
He also had no objection when told the photographs would be posted on the newspaper‚??s website, www.timesleader.com.
Mazur also provided a copy of the 2012 budget and discussed some of the changes, though all are minor.
The refusal to provide copies of a proposed budget was criticized Tuesday by first-year Councilman Clif Madrack.
And while the state borough code requires only that the proposal be publicly available for inspection, a media attorney contends that declining to provide copies violates the state‚??s Open Records Law.
Mazur argues anyone can see the budget during regular office hours but releasing copies can cause problems because the numbers might change before council votes on the budget on Dec. 31, and people might start criticizing a document that is not final, making it harder to get the budgeting done.
A comparison of the 2012 and proposed 2013 budgets shows spending is projected to increase by $104,763, almost all of which is payroll increases. Mazur said the bulk of that goes to police coverage. Part-time police payroll increases from $20,000 to $131,560.
The proposed budget also shows a $6,000 increase in income, far less than the increase in spending. That leaves a shortfall of almost $99,000, but Mazur said that will be covered by money owed to the borough in 2012 that won‚??t be received until next year.
The proposed budget reduces spending in more than two dozen line items.
The biggest decrease ‚?? a drop of $9,150 ‚?? is for insurance coverage in the streets department, where Mazur said a longtime employee retired, sharply reducing costs. Full and part-time salary totals in the fire department drop by a total of $13,600, while police full-time salaries drop by $4,952.