NUTLEY, NJ - Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans gave an update on the 2019 municipal budget and the status of the township’s transitional state aid during the Tuesday, Aug. 6, Nutley Board of Commissioners public meeting.
Mayor and Public Works Commissioner Joseph P. Scarpelli held a moment of silence for the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Revenue Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans said, “In nature of gun violence and the hardship it creates and to show our compassion and sympathies for the tragedies that have occurred, I would ask that we lower our flag to half-mast.”
Evans said as of the Aug. 6 BOC meeting, the township cannot adopt its budget for 2019 due to a freeze on the transitional state aid from the State of New Jersey.
“[…] The state has quarantined the spend[ing] around certain areas of the recently adopted budget pending a review of the potential revenue streams that can be generated this year,” he said.
The quarantine Includes the entire transitional state aid funds. Nutley received $4.1 million last year and was anticipating 85 percent, roughly $3.5 million. By law the township can only anticipate 85 percent of the previous year’s state transitional aid, which is currently figured into the pending municipal budget as revenue.
Evans is in talks with the state department about the transitional aid. “This is significant for us because we cannot adopt our budget without getting the approval from the state because our budget includes [$3.5 million] of transitional aid,” he said.
The basis of the township tax bills for the third quarter assumes that the transitional aid is collected from the state. According to Evans, the timing for it to be resolved is uncertain, it could be a couple of days or a couple of months. The county cannot certify the tax rate until the freeze is resolved.
Evans said he is in touch with all state representatives, the governor’s office, the Department of Community Affairs, and Essex County freeholders to make sure everyone understands Nutley’s situation. Nutley has been receiving transitional state aid to compensate the loss of revenue since Hoffmann-La Roche moved out of the township. The township has collected a total of $25 million in transitional state aid since 2014.
“[…] an executive order of the governor stands and while this is pending there is no action on the transitional aid,” said Evans.
Joan Rubino of Nutley asked how the residents will be effected if the anticipated amount of the Transitional State Aid is not granted.
Evans said there is a potential that there could be an adjustment of the tax bill for the fourth quarter. “Once I get clarity of the status of our aid there will be actions required by this board as well as the school board and the county to do our very best to absorb the loss of [$3.5 million in] revenue.
Rubino further questioned if there was any guarantee the township will get any amount of aid. Evans said it was uncertain at this point.
Rory Moore of Nutley thanked Commissioner Alphonse Petracco for the work of Nutley Police Detective Capt. Gerard Green regarding an issue with license plates at 75 East Centre St. According to Moore, three summons were issued. Moore further questioned a small trailer that is used to store landscaping equipment on the property. Evans said that was determined in compliance by the township construction official and the municipal department.
Moore also questioned a 23-foot driveway at 44 freedman Place, with no variance for it. Evans said the driveway may have been built before the current owner took residency.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20.