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Union City introduces 2022 budget totaling over $160 million

The budget is balanced as the city recovers from the pandemic, officials said

Mayor Brian Stack and the Union City Board of Commissioners met on Dec. 7.

The Union City Board of Commissioners have voted to introduce the city’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget.

The board voted unanimously to do so at its Dec. 7 meeting at Colin Powell Elementary at 1500 New York Avenue. This year, the budget totals $160,508,491. This marks a 5.84 percent increase, or $8,856,555 from last year’s total budget of $151,651,935.

The $160,508,491 in revenues is made up of $2,500,000 in surplus, $16,902,353 in local revenue, $45,575,162 in state aid, $16,066,276 in state and federal grants, $47,780 in delinquent tax, $77,863,025 in local tax, and $1,553,893.

Everything is up from last year’s budget, except for delinquent tax which dropped by 96.5 percent, or $1,163,062, from $1,210,843. The surplus saw a notable increase of 100.84 percent or $1,255,203, increasing from $1,244,796 in 2021.

The local tax levy increased by 1.96 percent or $1,499,852 from $76,363,172 in 2021 to $77,863,025. The local tax rate increased by .0976 percent from 4.9689 percent in 2021 to 5.0665 percent.

The 160,508,491 in appropriations consists of $44,678,926 in salaries and wage, $70,427,813 in other expenses, $10,843,018 in statutory and deferred charges, $16,227,777 in state and federal grants, $4,800,000 in capital, $12,966,511 in debt service, and $564,443 in reserve for uncollected taxes. Everything increased except for statutory and deferred charges, which decreased by 28.61 percent or $4,345,000 from $15,188,019 in 2020, and reserve for uncollected taxes which decreased by 55.12 percent or $693,160 from $1,257,603 in 2021.

Included in this budget is the $13,309,091 that Union City received in federal COVID-19 recovery funds from the American Rescue Plan.

Budget breakdown

At the meeting, the board held a public hearing on the budget. During the hearing, Chief Financial Officer Tammy Zucca shared details about this year’s budget. According to Zucca, this year’s budget is currently looking good.

“The budget is in balance,” she said. “It looks like it’s on the right track.”

While the board introduced and held a public hearing on the budget, it did not adopt it as it is under review by the Local Finance Board.

“It won’t be adopted until next year,” she said. “We need to get the state approval for us to adopt.”

Following that, the city can tweak the budget as it needs, she said: “After it’s adopted, we will make amendments to it.”

According to Zucca, there were some increases in health insurance costs to $23,956,278.

“We had some increases in health insurance, nothing out of the ordinary. I feel like it’s going to stay where it needs to stay. With COVID we had some issues, but we’re recovering from it.”

Approval soon

Mayor Brian Stack thanked Zucca as well as the Finance Department for collaborating on the city’s budget.

“I’d like to thank the Finance Department for their work on the budget,” he said. “I worked with them closely them on this and I thank them for their work.”

The board will vote to approve the budget sometime in January next year, following state approval. Read a copy of the introduced budget on the city’s website at: https://www.ucnj.com/_Content/pdf/budgets/Introduced-2022-Budget.pdf.

The next Union City Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at Veterans’ Memorial Elementary School at 1401 Central Avenue. For more information, go to the ucnj.com and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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