LIVINGSTON, NJ - The 2013 municipal budget was introduced by Township Manager, Michele Meade, during Monday night’s town council meeting.
“This is a commutation of work that’s been worked on for some time,” Mayor Rudy Fernandez said. “Tonight we are introducing it to residents and on May 13 it will be voted on.”
Meade explained that the budget was driven by three major factors, tax delinquency, tax appeals and operations.
Due to East Orange Water Commission neglecting to pay their taxes for several years, by the end of 2012, they owe the township of Livingston $2,403,063 which according to Meade, is a huge reason for increase.
“The most burdensome increases in this year’s budget are the direct result of the EOWC tax delinquency,” Meade said. “The fact that EOWC has not paid its taxes will cost the average homeowner $101.51- an increase of 4.14 percent.”
She added that without this large tax delinquency, the average homeowner increase would have been $38.74 or 1.56 percent.
Meade explained that the tax appeals factor is caused by the decrease in value of taxable properties within the township, which will cause an $18.82 or .75 percen increase to the average homeowner in 2013.
In her presentation, it stated that as a result of 2012 tax appeals, Livingston’s real estate base decreased by nearly $68 million.
Lastly, Meade described the operations factor and its role within the 2013 budget.
Although the township saved $218,000 in 2012 due to several cost-saving measures such as reducing energy costs, lowering recycling costs and decreasing legal expenses, non-tax revenues will increase by $320,000, according to Meade.
She said the cause for the increase is because the township anticipates higher receipts from new fees and agreements. Ongoing operations will increase the taxes to $19.92 per average household which is a 1.56 percent increase.
At the conclusion of Meade’s presentation, Fernandez thanked her and everyone involved for their hard work.
“This budget has been frustrating and challenging especially due to EOWC,” Fernandez said. “I want to thank Michele and everyone involved for always thinking outside the box to reduce prices to all residents at the lowest possible cost.”
Aside from the 2013 budget being introduced, proposed ordinances such as the Burglar/Fire Alarm Monitoring Systems ordinance and the Water, Sewer and General Capital ordinances will be voted on April 22.
In other news, Essex County Liaison, Eileen Fishman shared the Essex County update with attendees and the council.
She informed everyone that the sea lion exhibit will be opening at the Turtle Back Zoo on Wednesday and numerous environmental learning seminars and runs/walks will take place throughout Essex County during the spring.