North Bergen approves new budget

Tax increase, other affairs discussed

North Bergen approved a half-year $41.6 million municipal budget on Wednesday that will result in a small tax increase.
The new budget reflected a change from a fiscal year to a calendar year. North Bergen had previously operated within a fiscal year, which ran from July 1 to June 30. An ordinance that was introduced in a Mar. 13 Commissioners Meeting effectively implemented a switch to a calendar year, putting the town on the same calendar as the state, which provides aid each year.
The last fiscal year had a budget of $82 million.

Transition year

The previous budget, which ended June 30, covered the 2011 fiscal year. In order to transition from a fiscal year to a calendar year, Wednesday’s adopted budget will only serve for the second half of the current calendar year, or from July 1 to Dec. 31.
After the transition year, the town will operate on a full calendar year, which will run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

The new $41.6 million budget includes a 3 percent tax hike for property owners.
Under a fiscal year, tax bills are sent out twice a year, with each bill covering two quarters. Within a calendar year, all four bills will be sent at once.
“When you send your four tax bills [at the same time] the chances of it being more equalized are greater,” Township Administrator Christopher Pianese said in the Mar. 13 meeting.
“This is just a six month budget to get us back to a calendar year,” said Pianese. “It’s what we call a transition year budget.”

Notable changes

The new budget includes a 3 percent hike in municipal taxes, according to Pianese. That amount is just the increase in the town amount. Residents pay an overall tax amount affected by municipal (township) taxes, county taxes, and school taxes.
“Three percent, or about [an increase of] $90 dollars on an average home for the whole year,” said Pianese, who also indicated that this was the only major change from the previous budget.
“There’s really nothing in this budget that is different than the previous 12 months,” added Pianese. “There’s really not a lot of highlights in this document. It’s very routine.”
Pianese indicated that there have been no recent layoffs.
The major budgetary exception is the emergency expense the town was forced to allocate during the blizzard that struck last Christmas. The blizzard, which hit Dec. 26, had not been accounted for in the municipal budget until now.
“A 300,000 dollar item,” said Pianese. “So that’s now taken care of.”
An explanatory statement for the new budget was also released on behalf of the town.
“Although faced with increase costs, our Administration continues to operate in a fiscally prudent manner,” the statement reads.
The town also stated that the budget will account for the continued implementation of a township-wide CCTV system with a central monitoring center, improved snow removal and street cleaning capabilities, and more paving of streets and roads.

Other affairs

In other business, the town adopted an Aug. 24 ordinance to regulate parking within North Hudson James J. Braddock Park.
A three-hour parking limit will be enforced on Riverview Drive, Boulevard East, and Palisade Avenue within the park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those who violate the limit are subject to a fine of $40.
Handicapped spaces were also established at Seventh and Columbia Avenue as well as 72nd and Palisade Avenue.
The town also passed several resolutions to charge property owners for cleanup costs after they failed to curtail the accumulation of litter, debris, and other hazards on their premises. The cleanups, which were performed by the Department of Public Works, averaged $684.74 per property.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at

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