North Bergen introduces $81.8M budget
Has small tax increase; other commission business discussed
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Mar 03, 2013 | 2392 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
INTRODUCTION – Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Commissioners introduced the budget for the 2013 calendar year on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
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The North Bergen Board of Commissioners voted on Wednesday to introduce an $81.1 million budget for 2013, down $2.2 million from last year. Due to a loss of state aid and some rising costs, taxes will increase slightly, at 2.8 percent.

Township Administrator Chris Pianese said the size of the budget is down because the township has paid off a lot of debt.

“That section of the budget [debt service] is down $2.9 million when you compare last year to this year,” he said. “For the last 10 years we’ve concentrated an effort to issue less debt than we pay off.”

He added, “It will continue to go down as long we continue this program that’s in place that we take on less than what we pay off. We’re proud of that.”

However, the town had to cope with a loss of state aid. The state has cut funding to urban areas for the business districts (Urban Enterprise Zone program) and a Real Estate Associate Program that gave residents a rebate because the fire department was regionalized. Together both programs equated to a total loss of $5 to $6 million in state aid.
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“This is the first time we’re seeing a significant reduction.” – Township Administrator Chris Pianese
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North Bergen administrators made an effort to not cut any programs, have replenished the police force with about 116 officers, promoted officers, and filed the necessary ranks.

“We’ve found a way to have a plan without increasing taxes significantly, and maintaining the services and police force,” Pianese said.

The recreation program budget has increased because more children are enrolling.

Another factor that has impacted the township is that there are fewer residents paying taxes based on the economy. Last year there were $1.2 million in refunds issued to those who successfully appealed their taxes.

Up for a future vote

The budget must get state approval and will come up for a public hearing and vote at a future commissioners’ meeting.

“We’re hoping that before the state budget gets voted on, that there’s a possibility of getting more state aid,” said Pianese. “If that happens then this budget would be amended.”

Pianese said the city will create a Powerpoint document for the budget hearing and for the press.

Also on the agenda

Also at the meeting, an ordinance was adopted to amend a previous one for rent control. When owners make capital improvements, they will now be entitled to recoup their costs, according to an Internal Revenue Service schedule.

A resolution was authorized to AR James & Company for the installation of a bus shelter located at 5665 Kennedy Blvd.

The commissioners also issued a proclamation honoring Netta Meltzer for her community efforts with the Township’s Special Children and Adults program. Meltzer is retiring.

“I would like to thank Netta for all of her excellent work and wish her a great retirement,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco.

The proclamation states that she went “a step beyond, working tirelessly, for many years with the children and young adults who are mentally and physically challenged, to enrich each and every day of their lives.”

An ordinance for the township’s shooting range located on 83rd and Westside Avenue was adopted. The range is used by the town’s Police Department, but it will now charge a fee for use by outside law enforcement agencies.

An ordinance was introduced to require licensing for security personnel at establishments with a license to sell alcoholic beverages. Security personnel will be required to undergo a background check and wear identification. The security bar licenses will have a one-year term. This ordinance is modeled after one that was done for the city of Hoboken.

An ordinance was introduced to prohibit smoking in North Bergen-owned parks, recreational facilities, and municipal buildings. The county recently banned smoking in county parks. Violations can include a fine of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $150 for each additional one.

A resolution was made to appoint Janet Castro to be the replacement for Richard Censullo, who is North Bergen’s representative on the Hudson Regional Health Commission. Her appointment is due to the retirement of Censullo, which is effective March 1.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at vcruz@hudsonreporter.com

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