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Township Introduces $70 Million Budget with Tax Increase

Budget includes 1.5 percent tax increase

The township will see its first municipal tax increase in two years after the township council introduced a roughly $70.7 million budget for 2012-13 Tuesday night with a 1.5 percent tax increase.

West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi said the hike was necessary to deal with a revenue shortfall.

"The last two years we had straight zeros, in a way, we're paying for that now," Parisi told an auditorium full of residents during last night's township council meeting.

The budget is roughly $2 million less than .

Business administrator Jack Sayers said the projected impact on the taxpayer is an increase of $66 a year in municipal taxes per average household. The average home is assessed at roughly $340,000, he said. He calculated the municipal tax rate to be 0.916.

Of the $70.2 million budget, Sayers said $52 million would be raised by taxes, compared to $51 million last year.

Though Parisi called the tax increase "regrettable," he said the 1.5 percent spike would help mitigate "potential problems in 2013."

Parisi said the problem this year is a revenue not a spending issue as the budget cuts spending to 2008 levels.

"We had to use some reserves last year and we started with less revenue this year," Parisi said. "We did not believe it was appropriate to eliminate jobs to close that gap."

The budget, so far, does not include plans to layoff personnel but Parisi warned layoffs could loom once again next year.

"There's a very real possibility we'll have job cuts next year," he said.

In 2011, 48 employees — including — were laid off to balance a $3.4 million deficit.

The township will host several public hearings before adopting the final budget. No dates have yet been set.

MP March 23, 2012 at 03:19 PM
The mayor needs to trim down the govt and cut excessive salaries and benefits to municiapl workers to reduce our taxes. It is getting impossible to sell a house here. The houses in Livingston and Millburn sells fast. They are going to run WO into ground.Soon it will become Orange and then East Orange. This place is beautiful and convenient but being ruined by incompetent politicians and unions. Once you drive away high income earners, there will be nothing to salvage here. Once suggestion is to eliminate tax breaks for the so-called non-profit organizations that operate here. They all pay themselves high salaries but don't pay property taxes. Some people are also claiming their houses as houses of worship. sad, sad, sad.
cb March 23, 2012 at 06:21 PM
What I don't understand is why this article is not also addressing the tax rate increase that was voted on by our council on March 20. It is to go into effect in July, due to the town losing tax revenues because of all the appeals. This rate increase is in addition to the Budget increase of 1.5%. Between Board of Ed (at least 2%) Municipal budget increase(1.5%) and tax rate increase, we all may be looking at a 4-6% increase in our taxes.
john anthony prignano March 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Many years ago , I had a conversation with a then School Board member . She was telling me about all the mandates the schools have to pay for . So I asked " Does the State mandate longevity pay ? Does the State mandate 9 salary steps ? Does the State mandate the Rolls Royce health plan you give the teachers ? Does the State mandate the salaries you pay the Administrators? ? How about scheduled early dismissals? How about a daily prep period? Her answer was " No" . I said " You spend that money because YOU WANT TO" And at the time I spoke to that Board Member, the State gave School Boards the power to IMPOSE a "last best offer " contract on the Teacher's Union . Since she had failed with the mandate ploy, this Board Member switched gears and said that behind closed doors , the Union threatens job actions and reprisals and strikes . In other words , Board members are being coerced , that's why the teacher's contract is so generous .I told her to wear a wire or go to the Prosecutor's office I then got a glimpse into The New Order . I said "You're not even trying to control spending " She said "Yes we are . Last year we privatized the cafeteria service " !! Why pay 6 dollars an hour when you can pay 5 ? And why pay a teacher with a bachelors degree $100 an hour when you can pay them $150? Many many millions of dollars being spent on mandates , and many many millions of dollars being spent on meeting the most important mandate : Give your friends money !
Ryan March 23, 2012 at 09:36 PM
+1 to the "huge houses of worship" comment.
Ryan March 23, 2012 at 09:44 PM
"This rate increase is in addition to the Budget increase of 1.5%." I'm pretty sure this is confused. The rate increase is 1.5% (proposed; not finalized) but the budget is DOWN, not up. In short, the town is spending less but taxing residents at a higher rate because of a revenue shortfall. (It's not clear to me what the reasons for the shortfall are but the appeals you mention may be one.) Also, what's your source on the BOE budget going up "at least 2%"? More than 2% triggers a referendum under the new state law, so it seems very unlikely they'd propose that.

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