SUMMIT, NJ - The city of Summit has begun its annual budget process to forecast the expenditures and revenues it will incur in the upcoming year. Beginning with an annual goal-setting meeting, the mayor, members of Common Council, city staff, and members of the public provided input on issues that will help shape the annual municipal budget.
“The goal-setting process is the foundation for the annual budget and benefits from the input of the Governing Body members, City staffers and interested citizens of Summit,” explained Mayor Ellen Dickson. “Input from constituents is essential in determining the programs and issues that hold high priority.”
In 2013, the City of Summit’s annual tax bill was $126 million. Of that amount, the smallest portion of the tax bill 21 percent, or $26 million, was allocated to the municipality. Fifty-one percent, or $64 million, supports the schools. As much as 28 percent, or $35 million, of all taxes paid by Summit property owners go to the county.
“Developing a responsible budget that provides essential services without imposing excessive cost is one of the most challenging and important responsibilities of local government,” said City Administrator Christopher Cotter. “The budget is not just an accounting document; it reflects the needs and desires of the community.”
Dickson and members of Common Council expressed ongoing concern that the single most significant challenge in controlling property taxes involves Union County. City officials are urging the County freeholders to respect the two-percent cap in the same way that Summit does during its budget process, to look for ways to cut operating costs and to consider shared services to create better value for all Union County residents.
”While our municipal and Board of Education budgets have been kept well below the state mandated 2 percent increase, the county budget has exceeded the budget cap limits” explained Richard Madden, president of Common Council. “The continuing escalation of County taxes creates an enormous burden on our community and we look forward to working with the County Freeholders on ways to reduce the County tax burden to Summit residents."
The next meeting in the budget process will take place in early 2014. Members of the general public and business community are invited to attend. Budget documents can be found on the City of Summit website at www.cityofsummit.org/content/8242/8302/10255/10243/default.aspx