Hoboken may face 50 percent tax hike

Hoboken may face 50 percent tax hike

Friday, May 30, 2008 Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - The city's taxpayers could be hit with a 50 percent increase on their next bill, unless the city council comes up with another way to close an $11.7 million budget gap.

During a heated meeting Wednesday night, council members were livid they had not been given precise budget numbers, which they requested last week and believed would be provided at the meeting.

Business Administrator Richard England responded he did not realize he was supposed to bring the information but promised the administration would provide it the next morning - which it did.

Reached yesterday, England said he had the information Wednesday, but wanted to double-check certain facts before sharing it with the council.

The council plans to meet Sunday at 7 p.m., the night before the deadline to apply to the state Local Finance Board for a waiver to exceed the state cap on property tax increases. The budget would then have to be adopted by next Friday to avoid a state takeover.

Why the $11.7 million gap?

According to a budget summary, the city exceeded the proposed budget by $1.7 million on salaries and wages, and $3.6 million from an advance on the sale of the municipal garage fell through.

The balance is attributed to "other expenses" in the report summary.

Councilman Michael Russo, chair of the finance and budget committee, said a large chunk of this has to do with the city owing at least $3.6 million more than was budgeted for health insurance.

The budget can be found at www.nj.com/hobokennow.

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