MONTCLAIR, NJ - During the council meeting held on Tuesday, the 2017 municipal budget was voted on and approved with a 2.5% tax increase. Originally introduced on March 16, members of the Montclair financial team presented the highlights of this year’s budget prior to any comment from the public.

The Board of School Estimate (BoSE) budget was also approved during the meeting.

During the public hearing presented by borough Chief Financial Officer Padmaja Rao, the budget was summarized and all questions were answered.

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Some of the highlights of the 2017 budget include:

  • increased support to the public library,
  • senior services and public safety.
  • For the public library budget, it will be increased $116,000 raising the total budget to $3,418,093.
  • Additional funds were also added to the code enforcement budget including in order for them to hire two full time employees and four part time employees.
  • The Senior Services Department will receive an additional $335,000 annually to use toward senior bus services, programs at Edgemont House general outreach to seniors and;
  • the public safety department will also receive additional funds for programs such as Coffee with a Cop and Community Policing.

“We all know there is a backlog of construction code permits so we decided to add a few employees to take care of this issue,” said Rao.

She also explained goals and objectives of this year’s budget which included: maintain or improve the level of services in Montclair while still attempting to save money, gradually reducing long term liabilities with minimal impact on the tax levy and maintain the AAA bond rating.

Rao reported in the presentation that the tax increase for a homeowner with a home assessed at $500,000 would be about $451 or a 2.5 percent.

Councilwoman Renee Baskerville stated that she was pleased with this year's budget and all the work that went into it.

“I am very happy to see that there has been little change between this year's and last year's budget and it is basically a carbon copy of it,” she said “Moving forward, I would like to reiterate that I hope we can involve the heads of the departments in the budgeting process so we can hear from them what their needs are.”

Some additional figures which were broken down during the hearing included a summary of all revenues and appropriations in the 2017 budget.  Anticipated revenues raised by taxpayers in support of the municipal budget is $64,585,746.19, while total general revenues is $85,808,016.27. Total general appropriations is $85,808,016.27.

During the meeting, the following 9 police chaplains were sworn in; 
Rabbi David Greenstein - Congregation Shomrei Emunah
Pastor Elbert Maxwell - The Sword of the Spirit Christian Church Ministry
Pastor Robert Coles, Jr.- Petra Baptist Church 
Reverend Michele Brown - St. Paul's Baptist Church 
Pastor Brian Major - Christ Church 
Pastor Ron Gonzalez - Christ Church
Chaplain Barbara Bleeker - Religious Society of Friends Montclair Monthly Meeting
Pastor Paul Leggett - Grace Presbyterian Church
Elder Terrance Taylor - Just One Prayer Away Deliverance Ministries

Rev. Craig Dunn, who could not make the meeting, will be sworn in at a later date.

The following proclamations were issued:
April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month 
Declaring April 24 to April 28, 2017 as Week of the Young Child
Declaring May as Pre-eclampsia Month
May as Older Americans Month
Congratulating Grace Presbyterian Church