The $658 million amended Jersey City budget will come with a zero percent tax increase as originally expected earlier this year, despite the challenges from COVID-19, Mayor Steven Fulop said.
“This week we will be introducing the municipal budget for Jersey City and after much work by our team we are happy to share that this budget will have NO tax increase once again for our residents,” Fulop wrote in a Facebook post today.
“These are challenging times so I want to publicly thank our team for staying focused on this objective and achieving it … Our team felt that in these times when people are struggling with personal finances due to COVID-19 that we do everything in our power to continue stabilizing the city finances as we have done over the last few years. We felt it is crucial in these times to have no tax increase and we will present a budget that speaks to this.”
While the Jersey City Council approved a roughly $612 million spending plan on February 13th, which also touted no tax increase, the current public health emergency led to a $70 million or so budget shortfall.
This had Fulop and his administration considering layoff plans, among other cost saving initiatives, as he explained in an interview with HCV last month.
In his announcement on social media, he noted that many of these initiatives had been enacted, with the city receiving financial aid from a significant amount of CARES Act funding – among other grant opportunities.
“In this budget we have cut approximately $25 million in programs, restructured headcount/personnel, reduced projected new hires for police/fire, offered buyouts to existing employees, restructured healthcare with our union partners, and changed our debt offerings to get to the goal of offsetting massive revenue losses due to Covid-19,” Fulop stated.
“We also are leveraging close to $20m from the CARES Act to offset some additional Covid related cost increases.”
A copy of the resolution introducing the amended budget can be viewed here.
The city council will meet on Wednesday, August 12th at 6 p.m. and the session will be hosted via Microsoft Teams.