After City Clerk Robert Byrne gave a 30-minute monologue reading each line item and it’s changes, the totaled general appropriations for the city was $570,918,095, with an anticipated surplus of $20,745,651 to add to next year’s budget.
For the third consecutive year, the municipal tax will not rise, according to City Business Administrator Robert Kakoleski.
“On the municipal side zero [taxes will increase], but for the overall tax rate including the county and the school, the average bill will go up about 2.9 percent. For municipal purposes, it was flat,” he explained to Hudson County View after the meeting.
“The county budget went up and the school budget went up a little bit. If their budgets go down, taxes go down … It’s always the goal to maintain a single tax rate if we can provide services cheaper. It’s always the goal, but cost rises so there’s always a challenge.”
Some of the other challenges that arose in this year’s budget are healthcare cost increases and infrastructure demands by the residents of the city.
Council President Rolando Lavarro said the budget includes more revenue for police officers, formal construction code efficiency and a greater compliance to labor agreements made with developers to increase job opportunities for local and minority workers. The budget also includes greater parking enforcement.
Concerns about tax hikes, and budget increases was almost exclusively limited to one resident, Yvonne Balcer, which was a surprise for many city officials who are used to an extensive public comment on the budget.