The 2013 Municipal Budget was unanimously approved at Thursday's Mayor and Council meeting. The budget calls for an estimated tax increase of $127 on an average home of $465,000. Total general appropriations are $71,728,194.09.
During the budget introduction in March, Borough Auditor Steve Wielkotz explained that the tax increase would have been close to 'zero' were it not for the over $500,000 in emergency expenditures during Hurricane Sandy, and the 19 percent increase from the Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA), an increase, Mayor Mark Sokolich said, the town is vigorously opposing. The bill that the BCUA handed the town is $760,000. According to Sokolich, this represents the highest increase of any Bergen County town and the borough is fighting it.
Wielkotz said that of the $3.9 million surplus from 2012 (primarily from construction fees) $2.9 million has been transferred into the 2013 budget. According to both Wielkotz and Sokolich, the Borough will work to replenish that $2.9 million to use towards the 2014 budget, if needed.
The Council also passed the ordinance establishing a CAP Bank during Thursday's meeting. 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.
When the ordinance was introduced in March, Wielkotz said that by passing the ordinance, the borough is acting to preserve its CAP Bank for future years in case it is needed.
"This budget is over $3.8 million under our appropriations cap. With CAP Banks from previous years we're $7 million under the 2 percent tax levy cap," Wielkotz said during the March introduction.
"We're under both caps by a lot and we approved the ordinance to preserve that CAP Bank for future years in case the borough runs into a situation where it needs it," he said.