HACKENSACK, N.J. -- At last night's council meeting, the Mayor and City Council formally adopted the City's budget for the 2020 Fiscal Year. This year's budget continues the administration's promise of achieving long term tax stability and promoting sound fiscal budgeting practices, while providing the funds necessary for quality-of-life and community improvements. The budget has also been crafted to provide the city with flexibility to manage the COVID-19 financial crisis without negatively impacting local taxpayers.
"For the second consecutive year municipal property taxes aren't going up, but our homeowners' property values certainly are, and that is a testament to the hard work of our entire team," said Mayor John Labrosse. "We are right on schedule with our five-year plan to freeze property taxes while making major investments in city services and infrastructure and continuing with our downtown revitalization initiative.”
Highlights of the adopted budget include:
- Total budget $108,514,237 (increase of 1.4% from 2019)
- $43,377,711 in salary/wages
- $21,482,000 in health benefits/insurance
- $10,718,056 in pensions/statutory
- 2nd Consecutive Year of 0% increase in municipal tax levy.
- Significant improvements to parks and recreation, major drainage work to fight flooding, and extensive street and road repair.
- Higher home values-Total property valuations of over $5,600,000,000.
- Projected municipal tax rate of 1.512, the 5th consecutive decrease down to the lowest level in 5 years.
Additionally, the City's long-term financial plan provides the flexibility to mitigate fiscal uncertainties and issues stemming from the COVID19 crisis. Without these long term protections in place, the City could face a potential projected deficit of 2.5 million dollars. The City Manager and CFO worked with the City Council Finance committee to devise a COVID-19 financial response plan in this year's budget, including the following details:
- The City Manager has identified 2.5 million dollars in budget expenditures that will be frozen for the duration of the crisis;
- The expenditures to be frozen are taken partially from programs that had to be canceled due to the crisis or from budget appropriations with active reserves or trust funds which can be utilized;
- Later this year, the City Manager and CFO will review the City's finances and order the cancellation of any affected budget appropriation;
- Every dollar amount canceled, reduces the deficit by that same dollar amount. This will minimize the impact to the 2021 FY budget.
“In past administrations the answer to a financial crisis was to raise taxes and decrease services, but our team is working to weather this storm in a way that will hopefully be much more beneficial to our residents,” said Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino. “Our long-term fiscal plan was structured to provide flexibility and stability without raising taxes during an unexpected crisis, and this current situation is proof of the soundness of this approach. This pandemic is still unpredictable and we will continue to monitor it and keep the public informed as we move forward.”
Copies of the user-friendly 2020 budget can be found on the City's website at hackensack.org.