NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council introduced the approximately $24 million municipal budget for 2020 at its Monday, April 27 Zoom meeting. The proposed budget features an increase of 1.93 percent compared to the 2019 budget. This amounts to an $52.84 increase for an average borough home assessed at $282,000 with a market value of $560,000-$600,00. A more detailed budget presentation will be provided at the Tuesday, May 26 meeting.
Councilwoman Nadine Geoffrey provided the budget introduction. “This was not a process that was taken lightly in this Covid-19 environment,” she said. The borough had a draft in place prior to the start of the Covid-19 crisis. When the crisis began the borough took a step back and looked at the draft with a fresh perspective of what could be impacted and what could be adjusted, she explained. “There was no stone left unturned and not one line that was not re-evaluated,” she said. The borough will continue to monitor the budget as this crisis evolves. “We will be keeping our eye on everything as this crisis begins to settle and to analyze financial implications this year and in future years. Our work will continue to ensure prudent financial planning as we move forward together,” she stated. “New Providence prides itself on careful financial planning with an eye on the future, and not just reacting with one time line items to sway the budget one way or the other. Reserves are held to help us through difficult times and to allow us to make up for shortfalls as the environment changes,” she explained.
The borough is also increasing its open space tax by 0.0010 percent or approximately $1.24 per taxpayer. The combined municipal and open space tax increase total $54.08 or 1.6 percent per an average home.
Furthermore, the council approved a resolution to establish a storm recovery reserve fund. This expands the use of $450,000, originally allocated to now removal costs, for any emergency spending if the governor or president declares a state of emergency.
The council also introduced a bond ordinance for various capital improvements totaling $2,484,000. The amount of the bonds total $2,360,00. However, at this time we are not approving the spending and we are not funding any projects now, Geoffroy emphasized. “We do not anticipate funding for this at all in 2020 as our capital account already has approximately $5 million on hand,” she said. Any approvals for actual spending will be done through resolutions voted by the council. Because of the capital spending freeze the Grove Field renovation project has been placed on hold, Councilman Robert Munoz said.
The 2020 downtown improvement district budget hearing will also take place on May 26. There will be a $2,200 reduction over 2019 budget due to the decrease of debt service costs. In total the revenue and expenses related in this budget are approximately $7,600, Geoffroy explained.