Because of the borough's seemingly insatiable appetite for debt in the past five years, they have been seeking short term financing. Short term financing, those of duration of about a year or so, are not subject to financial disclosure requirements. With regards to long term financing, loans obtained from other agencies such as the Bergen County Improvement Authority (BCIA) are also not subject to financial disclosure. This year; however, the borough instead sought long term financing independently in the municipal bond market.
Going it alone has exposed an opportunity to the public: While the mere declaration that borough finances are improved from the mayor or finance committee members would probably satisfy most residents, federal regulators require a far more comprehensive disclosure to potential investors.
The entire document is here. Some observations:
On page 31, the municipal tax rate increased 25.3% over the period, yet on we see that total debt grew 25.4%. Even with interest rates being nearly zero, having debt grow faster than revenue is unsustainable. With a steadily decreasing population and increased foreclosures, remaining taxpayers will be squeezed even harder for tax revenues. With all the noise about runaway education expenses earlier this year, school tax rate from 2005 to 2009 increased 20.4%. How ironic: Taxpayers can vote the school budget up or down, yet it is the municipal tax rate that has been running away.
This is a big document, so feel free to look through it and see what else you might find.