Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners officially introduced the calendar year 2017 municipal budget at the public meeting on March 8, once again keeping property taxes stable. The introduced budget projects a 1% tax increase, approximately $35 on a home assessed at the township average of $140,000, while making major investments in services and amenities for residents. The budget will be discussed in a public hearing and then will be voted on by the commissioners at upcoming meetings.
“This budget continues our record of keeping property taxes stable year in and year out while still maintaining and expanding the services our residents deserve,” said Mayor Sacco. “Taxpayers expect this kind of stability and I am proud of our record of consistently providing it over the years.”
The budget reflects revenue totaling over $2.8 million from Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements on new developments, as well as increased revenue from the municipal pool despite a reduction in membership fees, and a major reduction of over 13% in debt service payments. The 2016 year end resulted in over $13 million in surplus reserves, an increase of over $3 million from the previous year.
This all comes with no increase in state aid for the seventh consecutive year, while overall state assistance has been reduced by 47% since its peak in 2006.
“Under the mayor and commissioners’ leadership we have always adopted conservative financial principles and budgeting strategies and that approach allowed North Bergen to weather the recession without major tax increases or layoffs,” said Township Administrator Chris Pianese. “Now we are seeing those strategies continue to pay dividends in reduced debt obligations and increased surplus, which should give all residents confidence that North Bergen is on sound financial footing moving forward.”
The projected budget includes funding for several important investments in services and quality of life for North Bergen residents. The township will be replacing the turf field at Bruins Stadium, purchasing a new ambulance, replacing all of the township’s 100 CCTV security cameras with new high resolution models, maintaining a full table of organization at the North Bergen Police Department, and much more.
“Budgets are about priorities and residents can see from this proposed budget where our priorities lie – in keeping taxes stable and providing the best services possible for our residents,” said Revenue and Finance Commissioner Julio Marenco. “I would like to commend the entire finance team for once again delivering on our promise to keep taxes stable.”