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Council Postpones Budget Vote; Interim Planning Director Hired

West Orange also takes another step in preserving its historic homes.

 

Those wondering what their tax increase will be next year will have to wait until the end of the month to find out.  

The council originally intended to vote on the administration’s $71.3 million budget with its tax increase of 1.8 percent on Tuesday night. However, the vote had been removed from the agenda earlier that day and a special work session scheduled on July 31 to discuss the budget. The time and place of the work session has yet to be announced.  

“We are seeing if we can move that [tax] number down a little bit,” said Council President Victor Cirilo. “We want to see if there is anything that can still be reconsidered to move closer to closing that [budget] gap. That’s the big picture.” 

The proposed budget includes a tax rate of .916, according to information found on the township's website. The average single-family in town will pay $3,110.99 in taxes with an average assessed home valued at $339,808. 

The proposed 2012 township budget can be found here in full.

More information about the budget can be found here.    

In other news, the council unanimously approved the hiring of an interim planning director that night. 

Paul Grygiel, of Phillips, Preiss, Grygiel LLC, of Hoboken, will be taking over as planning director immediately for a term of year at $1,500 a month. In addition, he will receive compensation for reviewing site plan projects from application fees. 

Current planning director Susan Borg is reportedly taking a medical leave of absence. Details about Borg’s leave of absence and how long it may be were not commented on further at the meeting nor was a statement issued by the township. 

Upon questioning by Councilman Joe Krakoviak about Grygiel’s pay structure and workload, Chief Financial Officer John Gross said that only “extraordinary” circumstances would cause the township to pay Grygiel more than $1,500 a month from its own budget.   

For all intents and purposes, Grygiel will be the acting planning director during his tenure. He will responsible for reviewing applications to the planning and zoning boards, among other things. 

Lastly, the township took another step in maintaining the preservation of its many historic homes. 

The first reading of an ordinance was passed by the council to make it mandatory for any future applications put before the planning or zoning boards to also be reviewed by the historic preservation commission when they involve historic properties. 

In addition to the homes in the town’s historic district, the HPC will also review the hundreds of homes listed in Robert Guter’s “The Historic Sites Survey” of 1992, which includes sites not officially designated as historic. 

Nonetheless, the HPC’s role will be purely advisory. 

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Alan Sanders July 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Intents and purposes, not intensive purposes.
Alex Sohn July 18, 2012 at 10:02 PM
$3,110.99 on an assessed value of $339,808?!? That will be quite a relief, then, to "average" homeowners currently paying $11.8K. The document linked *does* say the 2012 tax rate is 0.916 but, clearly, that's not correct. I think that number is the mysterious "multiplier" the town uses to adjust the assessment up. Before the town-wide reassessment that fudge factor was 0.2281.
Alan Sanders July 18, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Alex, 3110.99 divided by 339,808 is approximately 0.00916 (actually 0.009155). These numbers are presented in a very obtuse way. This means that each quarter the tax is 0.916 percent of the assessed value and 4 times this is the annual rate - approximately 3.66%. I don't know if presenting numbers and using 'multipliers' is a real estate or municipal way of presenting these numbers but it certainly is not designed to be clear to residents not familiar with this approach. Very user unfriendly!
Alex Sohn July 18, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Thanks, Alan. I didn't realize the article was stating the quarterly numbers. Last I heard the tax rate was supposed to be around 3.5% so it makes sense now.
richard lackowitz July 19, 2012 at 09:40 AM
Appreciate the civil exchange in dialogue.
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