SECAUCUS - The Secaucus town Council has moved up the vote to adopt the 2010 municipal budget. The vote had originally been planned for Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The vote will now take place tonight (Monday, Aug. 30) at 7 p.m.
"There's a concert scheduled tomorrow night that we all forgot about. So we had to reschedule the adoption of the budget, which we'll do tonight," said Mayor Michael Gonnelli.
The council publically introduced the budget in June, and held a public hearing on it last month. Therefore, the point of tonight's special session is only to adopt the budget.
The council had to twice delay a vote on the budget because the governing body was awaiting state approval on two provisions related to bonds and the restructuring of debt owed by the Secaucus Municipal Utilities Authority.
The state Department of Community Affairs approved one of these two provisions in July, and approved the second one on Aug. 26.
In June the council introduced a $45.5 million budget that included a 66-cent tax increase for every $1,000 of property owned. Since the town assesses the average Secaucus home at $165,000, the 66-cent increase would have meant the average homeowner would pay about $108 more per year to support the municipal budget, which amounts to $27 per tax quarter. (This 66-cent increase is for the town's tax rate only, and is separate from the county and school taxes property owners also pay each quarter.) Since then, however, at least $250,000 has been cut from the budget and the proposed tax increase has dropped to 55 cents for every $1,000 of property owned - a 10-cent drop from the original proposed amount.
The smaller tax increase was possible because the Gonnelli administration is aggressively pursuing payment of old fines and fees owed to the town by businesses and other property owners. - E. Assata Wright