While the Bayonne Board of Education passed a $137 million budget with a 1.99 percent tax increase on Thursday, they passed an amended version at an emergency meeting last night that will now come with just a 1.1 percent increase.
“Mr. Broderick, what was the reason for rescinding the resolution?,” asked Bayonne Teachers Association President Alan D’Angelo.
Last night, the school board had to first vote on rescinding last week’s approved budget, which passed 5-4, and while Board President Joseph Broderick voted yes, he said many of his colleagues felt the numbers warranted a second look.
“It’s kind of difficult, there’s nine of us up here, there’s nine opinions. They way I saw it at the last meeting was that I voted for this budget, it was a 5-4 vote. A lot of trustees mentioned things about saying not enough time, we got to look at this a little deeper.”
D’Angelo argued that a 1.99 percent tax levy was really just a 0.85 or 0.85 percent increase to the overall taxes of Bayonne home owners – when considering both city and county taxes – which would mean just an annual increase of $33 per home.
“I don’t how you understand how you revisit it because they didn’t understand: they had an opportunity to ask anything they wanted, whether it was in closed caucus or out here. And they didn’t so that was the way the vote went,” he also said.
Broderick argued that Bayonne residents have dealt with a nearly 12 percent tax increase from the school board over the past three years. Between that and this year’s tax reval, he said it was only fair to try and come up with the lowest tax increase possible.
After the board voted to rescind the previous resolution, the measure to introduce the new one with a lower tax increase passed by a vote of 5-3, with Trustees Michael Alonso, Ava Finnerty and Charles Ryan voting no (Trustee Christopher Munoz was absent).
Alonso argued that the budget was filled with at least $6.4 million of waste and if removed, the school board could actually approve a budget that lowered taxes – though his remarks did not warrant a response from his fellow board members.
Meanwhile, Ryan expressed disappointment with having to vote on a new budget since the previous one was a fiscal compromise that was fair to both the taxpayers and the students of the school district.
“The 1.99 budget [tax increase] was responsible and came as the result of no less than five budgetary meetings, finance committee meetings. We started out with a request for a budget that would’ve had a 2.57 increase in the budget. Many of us thought that would translate into a little bit much,” he explained.
” … The problem we have here is that to be good to the taxpayer, on one hand, and to be good to the students on the other, are mutually exclusive: you can’t do both. So you have to come up with some sort of balance.”