After weeks of delay, the Town Council approved a budget for 2010 last Monday.
The approved budget is $45.3 million, $34.5 million of which will come from local taxpayers, and is $30,000 less than the budget that was introduced back in June.
The budget includes a 55-cent tax increase for every assessed $1,000 of property owned. The town estimates the average home in Secaucus has an assessed value of $165,000, which means the average property owner will pay $90 more in municipal taxes under this budget. This works out to $22.50 per tax quarter.
The 55-cent tax increase applies only to the municipal budget and is separate from county and local school taxes, which property owners also pay.
In June, the council had originally proposed a 66-cent tax increase for every assessed $1,000 of property owned. Since then, however, the amount to be raised from taxes has been cut by $244,000.
“The governing body has worked very hard on this year’s budget in an effort to keep the tax rate stable,” Mayor Michael Gonnelli said Monday after the budget was approved. “As proof of that stability, this year’s bill is only increasing by 1.9 percent.”
Calling in payments due
Since January, when the Gonnelli administration took office, the mayor has aggressively pursued various outstanding fines and other fees owed to the town by local businesses. These revenues, Gonnelli said, are expected to pay off to the tune of $200,000 annually.
In addition, the administration has repeatedly stated that revenue from the parking lot tax – generated from the lot at the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station – will increase 40 percent through December, bringing in an additional $83,000.
Town Councilman James Clancy, who was on vacation last week, did not attend the special session Monday and therefore did not participate in the vote. The mayor and the remaining five councilmen voted in favor of 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.
A special session to approve the budget had initially been planned for Aug. 31 but was pushed up due to a scheduling conflict.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.