CLARK, NJ - Before the COVID-19 community health crisis left residents sheltering-in-place and watching an economic downturn unfolding, the Clark Town Council brought forward a 2020 municipal budget that holds no municipal tax increase for residents.
Pat O’Connor, President of the Council, at the March 16 Clark Township meeting announced that the municipality’s share of the tax bill will not increase in the budget as presented to the public.
Mayor Bonaccorso praised Business Administrator John Laezza for his hard work which he said made the budget possible. He also thanked his staff and the council for working so well together to make things happen.
“When we came here 20 years ago, we said we were going to ask you for exactly what we needed. This year we don’t need anything from you.” he said. “Over the years our increases have been very minimal.”
Additionally, the mayor used the opportunity to remind residents that the fiscal procedures of the current staff have led to the town’s ability to pay down debt while adding new services and maintaining others.
“20 years ago I was given the task of straightening this town out financially it was a mess. You had less services and were paying higher taxes, he said. “It was a shell game going on, every election year there was a zero point increase every other non-election year it was double digit increase.”
“We are the first administration to pay down debt, and because we have, we are going to build a beautiful new police headquarters, municipal chambers and court house in back of us that is not going to raise your tax bill because we paid our debt,” Bonaccorso said. “Debt has fallen off the books.”
O’Connor reminded residents that the Township Council is only responsible for the municipal portion of the overall levies on homeowners. County and state taxes may increase, and the Clark Board of Education has already moved forward a budget that has a two percent increase.
The final budget will be voted on at the next virtual Clark Township meeting on Monday April 20. Residents were advised in a recent public notice from the Office of the Clark Clerk how to participate:
“Any member of the public wishing to participate in the meeting, can do so by emailing comments relative to agenda items or any governmental issue to the Municipal Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by texting to 908-347-8348. Agendas will be posted as usual on the Township’s official website at: www.ourclark.com All comments received will be read into the record during each Meeting’s Public Comment Portion, and will be addressed accordingly by the appropriate Township Official. All emails must include the public member’s full name and address for the record.”
If you had no idea this was happening and don’t want to miss follow-ups to this local news story, sign up for free enews delivery. Don’t miss what’s happening in your backyard!