Business & Finance

West Orange Administration Works Into Eleventh Hour to Reduce Proposed Municipal Budget Increase; Budget Vote Expected Tonight

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WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Mayor's Office, Town Council Members, Town Administrators, and financial specialists (West Orange volunteers) have been working together in an attempt reduce the proposed 1.9% increase in the 2012-2013 Municipal Budget.  The current proposed budget is $ 70,658,841.00, which includes a 1.9% tax increase.  This would amount to a $66.00 a year increase for the median home valued at $ 339,808.00. There has been a 0% increase in municipal property taxes over the past two years.   

According to Town Council President Victor Cirilo, the budget vote was delayed in order to revisit budgetary line items and costs in hopes of lowering the projected increase.  The budget was originally scheduled to be voted on last Tuesday, August 7, when the Administration and Town Council asked for an additional week to review costs.  Cirilo also noted that the town recognizes the importance of the police department and other important services provided by the town, and are working to support those services   in the proposed budget.

The public school budget, which is separate, is proposing a 1.31% budget increase.The Board of Education Budget was approved at $ 139,503,106.00 for the coming year.  This represents an approximate $92.75 increase for the median West Orange home valued at $ 339,000.00.  There was actually a reduction last year.   The State Assembly and Senate passed a bill allowing school districts to move school board elections to November in a effort to save money and increase voter participation, and the BOE voted to do so, eliminating the April school budget vote as long as increases remain below Governor Christie's 2% cap.  The town is locked into this for the next four years.

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West Orange's tax obligation to  Essex County was $27,900,312.78 in 2011, and that amount is expected to go up.  This is paid from the Municipal Budget which comprises roughly 30% of property taxes.  70% of property taxes cover public education.

There will be a working planning meeting from 5:00 pm - 6:30, which the public may attend, but not allowed to comment,,  At 6:30 the public meeting will commence, and the budget is expected to be voted on.

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