NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Commissioners have until Wednesday March 15 to submit budget changes to Chief Financial Officer Rosemary Costa. Their task according to Revenue and Finance Commissioner Tom Evans is to ‘look for ways to absorb costs and avoid increases to the taxpayer’.
Ray Sarinelli of Nisivoccia LLP told the board “with some effort you will get to a better position than that“, after announcing the tentative Municipal tax levy was 4.54 percent. The tentative increase announced at the 2016 budget workshop meeting was 3.35 percent.
The budget increase in expenses at this time is $1,462,000.00 according to Sarinelli. Some areas of increases are: Library appropriations, pensions, group insurance, ‘other’ insurances, utilities, and reserve for uncollected taxes. Debt service and Passaic Valley Sewer are down.
According to Evans, regarding Transitional Aid, ‘the state was very clear that we can anticipate 85% of what was received last year,’ and negotiations are ongoing. If Nutley receives a 15% reduction from the $5.5M received last year as aid for 2017-18, it will equate to an additional $28.59 in taxes for the average taxpayer.
The potential loss of state aid at this point before further negotiations is $825,000.00. The municipal portion is $291,000.00 and the school and county potential loss is $533,000.00. Evans reminded the commissioners that last year the state also originally said that Nutley would only receive 85%, however, 100% was provided by the time of the budget adoption.
Sarinelli stated the ‘transition aid is to position you (Nutley) from a bad position to a better position’ and the state wants to take away 15% of aid each year. He also stated that ‘a half a dozen’ revenues from 2016-17 no longer exist causing a net budget increase of $158,000.00.
Right now before adjustments, the average taxpayer would see a $172.00 increase assuming a 15% reduction in state aid.
Evans stated that the $172 per $325,000.00 of assessed value was the municipal portion only. To get the full tax rate the county and school need to be added.
He asked the other commissioners to ‘tighten their belts’ and consider everything they can regarding reductions. Evans said he had discussed ‘fine tuning’ Public Safety with Commissioner Petracco and group insurance with Commissioner Tucci.
Referencing the budget recap sheet, Commissioner Petracco said: “It says group insurance increased $466,000.00.” Commissioner Tucci replied that the amount includes all current insurance costs as well as anticipated future expenses.
The commissioners engaged in a discussion regarding insurance benefits for part-time township employees. Commissioner Petracco stated that while current part-time employees receive health benefits he is in favor of eliminating benefits for any future part-time hires. “Why we are still doing this here is beyond me.” He said.
Mayor Scarpelli stated. “If you work 30 hours a week you are entitled to benefits. That’s why we are very careful with some of our part-time recycling people that they don’t put in over 30 hours.” Evans added: “Some of the things that have historically been automatic…going forward…. should not be automatic.”
Nutley CFO Rosemary Costa said: “25 – 30 hours is within your jurisdiction to determine for a position what is full time. ACA says 30 or more requires that you provide health benefits.” – under the current Affordable Care Act law.
Nutley Township office workers full time hours are 35 and Police and Fire are 40. An ordinance would be required to set a new definition of part-time and full-time hours for the Township.
Police Chief Thomas Strumolo and Fire Chief Paul Cafone attended the meeting.
Sarinelli provided the following timeline for the Municipal Budget.
- Public Hearing for the Budget will be April 18th.
- Adoption date: End of May, beginning of June pending final approval of amount of state transitional aid.
Rosemary Costa, CFO, Purchasing Agent, (973) 284-4951 x2271 email@example.com