City Budget Approved, Draws No Public Comment

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The City Council approved the 2011 budget that raises spending by $1 million from $76.2 million to $77.2 million.

The budget was amended by the governing body from a proposed $77.8 million to $77.2 million with additional cuts in general revenues and appropriations.

Overall, the tax rate is up 8 cents from $2.16 to $2.24, a jump that will add $94 to the annual tax bill for the average city home, assessed at $117,000, said city Business Administrator Thomas Loughlin.

Sign Up for E-News

The municipal tax bill for that home would be $2,621.97.

The spending plan does not include layoffs or cuts in services and drew no comments from residents who packed the council chambers during the public hearing on Wednesday, June 15.  

The tax levy – the amount to be raised by taxes – climbed from $27.1 million to $28.2 million, which includes the minimum library tax of $1.1 million, according to the city Chief Financial Officer Douglas Petix.

Because the city operates on a calendar year budget, which begins in January, and the state operates on a fiscal year budget, which begins in July, the budget is developed based on estimated state aid, which is subject to change, Petix said.

“The number is pretty sure to be the same, but we can’t really guarantee that that’s going to be the number, but I would be surprised if it changed,” he said. “Once it passes near the middle of July, I’ll get a statement as to how much state aid we’re going to get and the dates that it’s going to be paid.”

State aid is estimated to remain flat at $14.2 million, a number still considered a significant reduction in allocated aid, Loughlin said, pointing out that in 1991, the city received $14.8 million in state aid.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve sustained significant reductions in aid,” Loughlin said. “This year we’ve been advised that the state aid that we will receive … will be the same as the last. That source of revenue has not really kept pace with the rate of inflation.”      

Increases in the city’s pension obligations, which climbed from $1.6 million to $7.2 million, were a major factor in rising costs, Loughlin noted. Since 2004, when the total pension contribution was only $469,000, the city’s pension contribution has multiplied 15-fold, he said.

For the first time in two years, the city anticipates health insurance claims to climb by $647,000.

“We have made no assumptions in reduction of services or programs,” Loughlin said.“The mayor is always very clear about that when we start the budget process.”

Anticipating the retirement of more police officers by the end of the year, and to compensate for the eight who have retired since 2010, the budget calls for the hiring of seven new officers. Five of the seven posts have already been filled and the two remaining will be filled by the end of the year.

The budget also called for the hiring of seven new firefighters to replace the nine who have retired since 2010 and others expected to leave before the end of the year.

“The budget does not call for any layoffs or furloughs, but it does recognize that 12 full-time positions have been eliminated through attrition,” Loughlin said. “The budget does anticipate replacing some people but it doesn’t anticipate replacing anyone retiring between now and the end of the year.”

In light of the strained budget, the city is actively seeking ways to help ease economic pressures, including working with Highland Park to provide animal control services, and to shape agreements with the board of education and Middlesex County government to purchases services.

“We are trying to reduce spending where we can,” Loughlin said.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - February 21, 2018


ON THE HIGHWAY - Authorities were frantically looking into a "mystery tar" that appeared suddenly on cars driving along I-295 in South Jersey, causing tires to gel with the road. They quickly realized that a stretch of the highway in Salem County was smeared with liquid asphalt, leaked from a tanker and causing dozens of cars to get ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 20, 2018


STATEWIDE - Jittery parents are sending their jittery kids to jittery schools this morning, as classes resume after a President's Day weekend filled with wall-to-wall news coverage about gun safety. School districts statewide have been reporting threats - all thankfully not credible - as district leaders are on the highest alert. East Brunswick, for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 16, 2018


E STREET - While a tired nation is demanding gun control (yet again), Springsteen guitarist Stevie Van Zandt is having none of it. No stranger to political opinions, the New Jersey icon tweeted "What happened to us? We are averaging 2 school shootings per week AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Many tone-deaf politicians on Capitol Hill ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 15, 2018


TRENTON - As state lawmakers are set to announce a bill at 11 a.m. to decriminalize pot - an issue that has consumed the Statehouse -  the Record is reporting on an often-ignored issue: the state's ridiculously antiquated liquor laws. For example, supermarkets in the state can only have up to two liquor licenses, stemming ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 14, 2018


ON AIR - Gov. Phil Murphy had his very first "Ask the Governor" monthly program last night. He appeared on News 12 New Jersey to field your questions about all things New Jersey. Impossible to recap an hour segment. Of course, we will try: New Jersey should be a better place to retire. The state pension mess will be solved.

The Jaffe Briefing - February 13, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Perhaps Donald Trump is still ticked that New Jerseyans had no interest in his team, the New Jersey Generals, which played football in the now-defunct USFL. Or, perhaps he is angry we didn't frequent his now-defunct casinos in Atlantic City. Or, perhaps he is seeking revenge for the fact that 546,345 more New Jerseyans voted for ...

Trees Have Sex? Rutgers Researchers Have All the Answers

February 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A few years ago, Rutgers researcher Jennifer Blake-Mahmud was working on a botany project in Virginia when colleagues pointed out a striped maple, a common tree in the understory of mountain forests from Nova Scotia to Georgia. 


“They told me, ‘We think it switches sex from year to year, but we don’t know why,’ and I said, ...

Rutgers Union Rally Planned Friday for $15 Minimum Wage

New Brunswick, NJ - On Friday, February 23, student groups, a coalition of Rutgers unions, and representatives from campuses across the nation will hold a rally and march on College Avenue to demand a $15 minimum wage.

The action, initiated by the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and the Rutgers American Association of University Professors - American Federation of ...

RU Students Rejoice: Starbucks Reopens at The Yard@College Avenue

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In what many consider to be the biggest news of the day on the Rutgers University campus, the Starbucks at The Yard@College Avenue has once again reopened.

Officials with the New Brunswick Development Corp. reported this morning that the popular coffeehouse is open "for good."

The Starbucks at The Yard@College Avenue, located at the corner of College ...

Valeski: Placing Police Officers in Schools was Planned for Two Years

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the midst of a media firestorm Tuesday, Dr. Victor Valeski, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools, fielded questions from local and national journalists regarding the placement of armed police officers inside each of the district's K-12 buildings.  The move seemed to many as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the fear generated by the massacre of ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...


Letter to the Editor: Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 15, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Somerset Patriots Sign Frontier League All-Star RHP Randy McCurry

February 17, 2018

The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Randy McCurry for the 2018 season.

“I’m excited to play in the Atlantic League this year,” said McCurry. “It’ll be a transition for me but I am ready to face some really good competition and help the team win.”

McCurry enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and ...