The Bayonne City Council adopted the 2020 city budget at the July 15 meeting, totaling $143,250,995.64.
It met via TetherView. No residents spoke at the public hearing.
The $143.2 million budget was an increase over the $140.9 million budget in 2019 and $139.7 million budget in 2018.
The anticipated surplus for 2020 is $7 million, a dramatic decrease from the 2019 surplus of $14 million. Total salaries and wages dipped slightly from $59.5 million in 2019 to $59.2 million.
Salaries and wages for the Office of the Mayor were about $355,000, up from $330,000 in 2019. The city clerk and the city council, at about $777,000, were up from $704,000 last year.
The Department of Administration, which includes the Offices of the Business Administrator, Finance, Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, Postage, and Personnel, was the same as 2019 at approximately $3.2 million.
The Office of the Law department came in at $1 million, up from $922,000. The Department of Public Safety, the largest expense, costs $45 million, slightly lower than last year’s $47 million. The Department of Public Works costs $12.1 million, down slightly from $12.3 million last year.
The city expects to raise $2.3 million for the library, an increase of approximately $200,000 from 2019.
The city expects to generate $1.2 million in Municipal Court fees. It anticipates generating only $835,000 in parking fees, down from $1.1 million in 2019, with a deficit of $198,500 in total Parking Utility revenues.
The city pays $2.75 million for workers compensation, mandated to protect city employees if they are injured on the job. Employee health plan costs rose to $15.2 million in 2020 from $14.9 in 2019.
Over the next six years, the city plans to spend $22 million on improvement projects, including $10 million on pedestrian bridge improvements, $7.7 million on road resurfacing, and $4 million on other capital projects.
Residents face a property tax rate increase of 1 percent, after the Bayonne Board of Education adopted a $164.3 million budget for the 2020-2021 school year, including a tax levy of $69.7 million.
A significant portion of taxpayers’ expenses includes the school district’s tax levy. The BBOED adopted a budget in May that was $18 million more than last year’s. It included a 1 percent property tax increase and a $69.7 million property tax levy. In 2019, the tax rate increased by 1.99 percent.
The school district, which is funded from 40 percent of Bayonne’s property tax bills and state aid, levies additional taxes when the cost of running the district increases.
Bayonne is undergoing a boom after decades of disinvestment, when people moved themselves or their businesses, and their property tax payments, out of the city. The strategy has been to promote financial stability to attract development, through PILOT agreements or payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, that will one day reap property taxes,
Many PILOT deals have been struck with developers, who will make negotiated payments to the city instead of property taxes for the period agreed upon, typically from 15 to 30 years. In 2020, Bayonne is anticipating about $7.7 million in local revenues, much of which come from PILOT payments.
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