The town of West New York introduced their $76,674,325 budget for 2015, roughly $990,000 more than last year, which would come with a 3.82 percent tax increase for residents – about an additional $24 a month for taxpayers, according to Town Business Administrator Matthew Watkins.
“This government has made dramatic changes in our operations over the last six months, really over the last year, that I know of, to address the spending,” Watkins said at this afternoon’s regularly scheduled board of commissioners meeting.
“This is more a revenue problem, but we can’t make revenue, because revenue comes from casts of the lot. Although, for us, it’s only 45 percent of our total revenue. So really, we’re better off than most counties.”
“But we have a revenue issue, because this year, our spending is only going up 1.2 percent. That’s about $900,000. In all that, we know that we settled our labor contracts: that in one case, has been outstanding for four years, and working with our police – we settled a very good contract for both of us.”
Prior to the board entering closed session, they unanimously approved salary ordinances for both the patrol and superior officer of the West New York Police Department.
Watkins also stated that “needed operational changes to bring down our costs” will be implemented in the next six months, later noting that assessed property values have recently gone up – a trend that will likely continue with current development projects in town.
In the event the budget is approved in its current form at next month’s board of commissioners meeting, it would mark the first tax increase of Mayor Felix Roque’s administration.
Roque defeated incumbent Sal Vega in a stunning upset in May 2011 and essentially coasted to victory in last month’s municipal election, which pitted him against longtime rival then-Commissioner Count Wiley.
Additionally, Roque echoed what he said during his inauguration speech, talking about making “sacrifices” and “cutting the fat” in the budget to keep expenses manageable for residents.