Following several months of adjustments and worker concessions, the village imposed its first wave of job cuts Wednesday.
"It's certainly a difficult time in the village for the council, the manager and especially the staff," Mayor Keith Killion said. "Our hearts go out to the people. We tried hard to avoid what we could."
The mayor attributed decreases in state funding coupled with increases to health insurance, saying, "We can only do so much."
Effective July 15, 31 layoffs, retirements, terminations and hour modifications took place for village workers throughout all departments, Village Manger Dr. Ken Gabbert said.
Earlier this month the village detailed specific positions targeted but could not elaborate on individuals, as NJ Civil Service needed to determine bumping rights for more senior employees.
According to Gabbert, a supervisor elimination in the water department caused an unexpected bump, which the village corrected. However, nearly all other changes went as expected.
The village laid off 18 positions. Additionally, 10 staff members retired—one more than originally announced. Three other positions were terminated not due to the budget cuts.
At month's end, nine more positions will be eliminated—once again, barring any changes from Civil Service.
The cuts occurred the same day Gov. Christie signed into law a measure to cap towns' ability to raise taxes at 2 percent, as opposed to the current 4 percent. Gabbert, who became village manager in November 2009, talked about the potential for more layoffs next year.
"It is possible; however, from January, 2010 on we have sought to make decisions that will avoid or greatly limit layoffs in 2011," he said.
The future of many municipal budget lies in the fate of 33 separate bills—described as a "toolkit"—and their effect on towns.
The village passed its budget June 16 with the hope of averting more cuts through union concessions. The budget increases taxes 5.2 percent and totals $42.4 million. An average homeowner (assessed at $799,000) will pay $3,588.