North Bergen has rescinded its 2022 municipal budget. The move allows the township to use surplus funds to offset an exorbitantly large county tax levy increase this year.
The 2022 calendar year budget was adopted by Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the North Bergen Board of Commissioners back in May. It featured a 1.5 percent increase to the township tax levy.
Now Sacco and the commissioners have voted to approve a resolution rescinding this year’s budget. They did so unanimously at the June 8 meeting.
County tax levy increase throws wrench in municipal budget
Following the adoption of the budget, the township received notice from Hudson County that the county’s anticipated tax levy increase and allocation to North Bergen will result in a 24 percent increase in the county tax levy for North Bergen property owners. The newly adopted resolution states that the “extraordinary county burden on North Bergen residents requires the township to, in turn, take extraordinary counter measures to off-set the county tax burden.”
Through stable taxes and spending restraint over numerous years, the township has built up considerable surplus which is available for extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances, according to the resolution. As such, the township finds that the present county tax increase warrants the use of the surplus funds to offset the county’s tax increase.
In order to utilize the surplus funds in the 2022 budget, the township first needs to rescind its adoption of the budget, amend it, and readopt the budget. The resolution approved by the board is the first step.
The township has apprised the state Division of Local Government Services of the circumstances. And according to the resolution, the Division will allow the township to proceed.
Surplus funds may offset the impact on local taxpayers
After the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Robert Pittfield further detailed the scope of the ordinance.
“The county established almost a 28 percent increase in the levy to us,” Pittfield told the Hudson Reporter. “So we need to rescind our budget and amend it in likely two weeks. In other words, we’re trying to alleviate the amount to taxpayers by reducing our amount to be raised.”
Pittfield clarified that the board would only need to adopt the amendments to the budget when it is up for a hearing and final passage. The total over $106 million budget is not change in the number, only the inner workings of the budget are being rearranged to accommodate the county’s tax levy increase.
“The total number in the budget has not changed,” Pittfield said. “It does not need to be reintroduced because it was already approved. We just have to have a hearing on the amendments to that, as if it was never adopted to begin with… The total number of the budget is not changing, just things within it.”
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