The Hoboken City Council introduced a proposed $132 million budget for the 2022 fiscal year on Wednesday night, $7.1 million over last year’s budget, and requiring a 5.6 percent local tax increase.
The budget was proposed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla this Monday, which the city says will fund increases created by rising inflation and union contract settlements, along with investing in infrastructure improvements and personal investments.
Business Administrator Jason Freeman told the council about $120.7 million is set for city appropriations; $56.9 million is proposed for salaries and wages, which is $6.6 million more than last year’s budget. Freeman said that about 80 percent of the increase is because of contract settlements for six unions.
For the rest of the appropriations, $17 million is proposed for employee group health benefits, which is $3.3 million less than last year, with Freeman explaining that because of the increased salary expenses, the city and the Self Insurance Fund Commission had to find a path to reduce the costs. Finally, $46 million will be for all other expenses.
For the salaries and wages itself, 75 percent would be for public safety, 12 percent is for administration (five-point-six percent of which includes the mayor, city council, etc.), finance, court and construction, seven percent for environmental services, four percent for human services, and two percent for community development.
The city is expecting to generate about $63.8 million in general revenues, which includes a $9 million surplus. The 5.6 percent tax increase is due to a proposed increase to the tax levy from $59 million to $62 million, which the city said will mean $12 a month for property owners with an average assessed property of $525,000.
Freeman said that property taxes have remained stable over the past decade, with the average residential assessment going from $2,504.90 to $2,756.25 as the city’s population grew to 60,419.
The budget was introduced 7-0-2, with Councilwoman Jen Giattino abstaining, and Councilman Michael DeFusco absent from the meeting that night.
The city will be holding three workshop sessions for the budget. The first will be held on May 2 at 6 p.m. on the City Clerk, Water Utility, Department of Administration and Department of Finance, and Department of Environmental Services.
The second will be on May 3 at 6 p.m. for the Department of Community Development, Department of Health and Human Services, and Corporation Counsel. The last meeting will be on May 9 at 6 p.m. on the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Transportation and Parking.
The meetings can be participated at us06web.zoom.us/j/88484491780?pwd=RHpPd3RyMlErOElnQW9Sa2NlUEhWZz09.
Another hearing on the budget will take place at the council’s May 18 meeting at 7 p.m. Hoboken spokesperson Marilyn Baer said that the administration expects the budget to be adopted in May.