Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman and the Borough Council approved the calendar year 2010 municipal budget. For the coming year, Governor Christie has called for a cut of $2.5 million in school aid and $665,000 in state formula aid to Carteret, and has seized $140,000 in school surplus, and $440,000 in Urban Enterprise Zone funding held by the state in trust for Carteret. Governor Christie’s budget will also divert an additional $750,000 from Carteret’s UEZ program in 2010-2011 fiscal year.
In spite of obstacles posed by Governor Christie’s administration, Carteret residents will see a net reduction in their taxes – approximately $20.00 per household. A total budget of $37 million was approved by a 6-0 vote, down $1.9 million from the 2009 CY budget.
Along with many N.J. municipalities, the Governor’s proposed cuts will translate into pressure on local tax resources and ratables. Reiman’s administration has cut 27 positions over the last 6 years for a 12% reduction in staffing. Carteret municipal employees began paying towards their health insurance long before the state mandate, and in many instances pay 10-15% of their health care cost far in excess over the state’s 1.5% contribution.
Reiman’s budget also calls for the continuation of many resident programs, including the continuation of a $100,000 annual sewer rebate for seniors, veterans, and permanently disabled residents.
“In spite of the dramatic cuts being posed by Governor Christie’s administration, we have stayed the course of disciplined spending and stabilized taxation, in the continued recognition that reductions do not need to directly affect the quality of services we provide our residents,” Mayor Reiman stated.
In February, Mayor Reiman announced at his State of the Borough Address that municipal staffing had been reduced by 10%, while holding budget increases below the rate of inflation. He also announced that his administration was committed to further reducing the cost of local government in the years ahead. With utility costs up by 15% since last year, and pension and medical insurance up by $1.5 million, such reductions have become all the more urgent, according to the Borough’s finance department.
Pension costs alone for Borough staff rose $97,000 this year, while Health insurance costs rose $526,000. Mayor Reiman has also noted that the town’s net valuation has risen in stride with Carteret’s economic growth by $34,493,769, the Municipal tax rate increase has been stabilized annually, and controllable expenses were reduced by $3,172,328 (26%) since 2007.
“Governor Christie has balanced his budget on the backs of Carteret residents and working class families throughout the state,” Mayor Reiman added. “While he would like to claim that it is a fiscally sound budget, the fact is he simply chose not to fund billions of dollars in expenses and liabilities. He raised fees and taxes on working class families while giving millionaires a tax break at the same time.”