HACKENSACK, NJ -- Following its introduction at the March 26 meeting, the 2018 City Budget was detailed in a power point presentation by Hackensack Chief Financial Officer James Mangin at last night’s council meeting.
In it, he described the mission of “improving or increasing services while simultaneously stabilizing taxes” which is gone about through a 4-step process: Make the City attractive to Investors; Increase the ratable base; Lower the tax rate; Allow an increase to the tax levy (more services) without increasing the tax rate (stabilizing taxes).
“The city’s cash position this year is very strong,” Mangin said. “We’re at about $21.3 million but a year ago, that number stood at about $17 million dollars.”
Likewise, surplus is also at a good place, Mangin explained, standing at roughly $10.3 million - “almost exactly 10 percent of our operating budget.”
The budget totals $105,065,733 ($67,723 less than last year). Salaries and wages are also down $485,000 or 1.16 percent from last year.
Mangin went on to explain how, for the third year in a row, Hackensack total property valuations are up (“That’s a trend that we want to see continue.”) as are Hackensack escrow expenditures. With valuations currently growing at a faster rate than the tax levy, the municipal tax rate will be lower for the third year in a row.
Illustrating his points using pie charts, Mangin detailed how in 2014, over 40 percent of total taxes were paid by residents compared to only 37 percent this year, indicating the tax burden is shifting from residential to commercial.
“That’s a good thing and that’s something we want to keep an eye on,” he said.
Mangin named the biggest obstacles to overcome in 2018 are unexpected health benefit increases and increases in local school taxes.
The budget goes to vote at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, April 24.