Manchester will join most other New Jersey municipalities and operate on a calendar fiscal year plan beginning in 2013 now that the Township Council has approved an ordinance enacting the change.
Fewer than 15 New Jersey municipalities still operate on a state fiscal year calendar, said township CFO Diane Lapp, meaning that their operating year runs from July through June. Calendar year cycles run from January through December.
Changing the cycle from a state fiscal year to a calendar fiscal year "is in the best interest of the taxpayers," according to the ordinance first introduced by the on April 24.
"Everyone else runs on a calendar fiscal year," said Council President Craig Wallis at the time.
The state is urging municipalities to make the switch, Wallis said, which should eliminate some guesswork when preparing budgets and tax bills.
"When we do our tax bills, we do estimates," Wallis said, adding that the first half of a property owner's bill is not exact. The second bill makes up for whatever that first estimated bill was off by.
"What this will do is give us actual values because we're off-cycle," Wallis said.
Lapp agreed that the switch will be beneficial to residents for this reason.
"The tax bill, I believe, is easier to understand," she said. Temporary six month township budgets no longer will be needed.
A calendar year cycle also better aligns with municipal elections, which , Wallis said. Terms will begin in January.
"Now we're going to make everything match up in the same time frame," Wallis said.
Reorganization meetings for township departments will move from July to January.
The council also passed a resolution last month seeking solicitations for professional service contracts for 14 positions including bond counsel, planner and prosecutor. These six month contracts will be awarded from July through December; the township in January 2013 will award contracts for that entire year.
The CFO will prepare an application requesting the change which will be submitted to the Local Finance Board, according to a resolution passed by the council.