The Town Council has unanimously adopted the $60,431,960 municipal budget for the 2021 calendar year, following recent state approval.
Councilman Robert Costantino, the council’s finance liaison, said the budget was held up for a few weeks while it was under review by the state.
“We are happy to approve the budget as introduced a few meetings ago with a zero increase to the municipal tax rate,” he said.
Holding steady at zero
Costantino said that a zero percent increase to the municipal tax rate was a regular occurrence in Secaucus.
“It’s been many many times I’ve gotten to say that over the ten years I’ve been here,” he said. “I’d say maybe eight of the ten, or nine out of the ten budgets have had a zero increase for the municipal tax rate.”
Mayor Michael Gonnelli praised the budget, but hoped to make up lost economic gains in the future.
“Let’s hope we get everything back soon,” he said. “The hotel tax, the parking tax. I think it will.”
“We did have a lot of obstacles in our way this year, there were a lot of lost revenues in there because of the pandemic,” Costantino said. “That made it even more difficult.”
Breaking down the budget
Chief Financial Officer Pat De Blasio explained how the town was affected by the pandemic.
Secaucus lost recreation fees to the tune of $140,000. Hotel fees decreased by $650,000. Parking lot fees were down $625,000. An assessment trust is down $711,000, which was revenue that was in last year’s budget but not this year’s.
Insurance went up by $275,000. Medical insurance went up by $335,000. Solid waste went up by $200,000. Pensions were up by about $480,000.
The budget remained stable by using extra funds that the town had set aside. Each department head had to cut costs.
The next town council meeting is July 27. For more information, go to secaucusnj.gov and click on the event on the calendar webpage.
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