TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Expanded budget information for more New Jersey towns will soon be posted online.
Gov. Chris Christie recently signed legislation that requires the Department of Community Affairs to immediately post the current budget — and the last three adopted budgets — of any municipality or county that does not have its own website.
Those with their own sites already were required to post their current budgets. But they now will also have to post their last three adopted budgets.
Proponents say putting more financial data online will increase governmental transparency and make it much easier to access public information.
Most of the state’s 566 towns and 21 counties have websites, but the quality of those sites and what material gets posted varies greatly. And for those in communities without websites, obtaining information can often be troublesome and time-consuming.
“If a municipality or county doesn’t have a website, a taxpayer seeking to inspect either the county or municipal budget would have to travel to the local library or a government facility,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Turnersville, one of the bill’s primary sponsors in that chamber. “That may be inconvenient or even impossible for some taxpayers, especially senior citizens, depriving them of an opportunity to examine the plans their property taxes support.”
The measure initially passed the Assembly in late September and was sent to the Senate, where some revisions were made. Both chambers then voted last month to approve the Senate version and send it to Christie, who signed the measure Tuesday.
Besides Moriarty, the other primary sponsors in the Assembly were Democrats Nelson Albano and Matthew W. Milam, both of Cape May Court House, Pamela Lampitt of Cherry Hill and Linda Greenstein of Hamilton (Mercer County).
Greenstein, who has since moved to the Senate, sponsored the measure in that chamber with Sen. Fred Madden, D-Turnersville.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)