Introduction of Municipal Budget at Thursday's Mayor and Council Meeting
Mayor and Council to introduce ordinance to exceed 2 percent cap and establish a CAP Bank.
The Mayor and Council will introduce the 2013 Municipal Budget at Thursday's Mayor and Council meeting. On the agenda is the introduction of an ordinance to exceed the 2 percent cap and establish a CAP Bank.
Local governments can circumvent the 2 percent cap on municipal budget increases if an ordinance is adopted establishing a "cap" bank. The passage of the ordinance permits the governing body, in certain situations, to increase its budget in an amount not to exceed 3.5 percent of the preceding year’s appropriations level.
The law establishes that the cap can be exceeded without having to go to the public for a vote if a town needs to meet certain capital expenditures, including debt service, or if there is an increase in pension contributions or health care costs.
During the March 7 executive session of the Mayor and Council, Borough Auditor Steve Wielkotz said that emergency expenses incurred during Hurricane Sandy and a 20 percent increase handed down to Fort Lee by the Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) pushed the 2013 municipal budget from a near zero tax increase to a tentative tax increase of $127 on an average home of $465,000.
The borough was forced to allocate approximately $500,000 for emergency funds to cover costs incurred by Sandy, such as overtime. Although the borough will recover a percentage of those costs through FEMA, the payment schedule is slow.
Additionally, the BCUA hit Fort Lee with an increase of $760,000. According to Mayor Mark Sokolich, this represents the highest increase of any Bergen County town--20 percent over 2012.
The Mayor and Council meeting begins at 8pm in the Council Chambers of Borough Hall.