No new taxes

Secaucus council to vote next week on $47.2 M budget

The Secaucus Town Council introduced the $47.2 million municipal budget on Tuesday, March 26. Municipal taxes are one of three parts of the overall tax rate, which also includes school and county taxes. It will be up for a final vote at a council meeting on Tuesday, April 23.
Financial Chairman Councilman Robert Costantino announced that for the second year in a row, residents will see no municipal tax increase. Last year’s budget was $50.1 million.
“We’re real proud of this budget,” said Costantino.
Residents will get to speak out or make suggestions before the final vote.

Two-year streak

“We were able to maintain a zero increase by utilizing cost attainment measures and increasing the amount of surplus used to achieve this goal,” said Costantino.
“Since the new administration has taken office, we have looked for and are implementing cost containment measures to help future budgets,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli in his budget notes. “We have also looked at this year’s budget with future budget years in mind. We are not trying to produce an artificially low tax rate by mortgaging our future.”
Gonnelli said that the town is able to reserve a surplus of $600,000 this year, much higher than $68,000 in last year’s budget.

The town was able to negotiate new healthcare coverage for town employees.
Gonnelli said that the town has gleaned $200,000 more in hotel taxes than previous years, and $125,000 in parking taxes. Prospects for those amounts to increase in the future are good, with several big events coming to the Meadowlands in the next few years.

Major increases in expenses

Gonnelli said that the town was able to negotiate new health care coverage for town employees during the middle of last year, reducing expenses by $525,000 this year.
“The mayor and the council worked very hard in trying to keep the municipal tax rate as stable as they possibly can,” said Town Administrator David Drumeler. “While we had a lot of expenses related to [Hurricane] Sandy, we didn’t have any real losses.”
Officials said that the city had to deal with more than $400,000 in unanticipated expenses due to the hurricane, but are hopeful the money will be reimbursed by FEMA.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at

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