City Council amends budget

City Council on Monday night amended the city budget by resolution (AR-87-13), held the required public hearing on the spending plan, but will approve the budget as amended at its meeting next month.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Ruggiero explained that an amendment is necessary if:
– There is an increase or decrease of 10 percent in a budget appropriation;
– A new appropriation is added that is equal to more than 1 percent of the budget;
– The tax levy is increased or decreased by 5 percent.

In this case, it was the first item, an increase or decrease of 10 percent in a budget appropriation. Specifically, $20,000 was reduced in the Department of Law for salaries and wages, related to the public defender and , along with changes to some six line-items in the budget, which reduced the tax levy by about $32,000, from $34.47 million to $34.44 million. The tax levy is about 2.95 percent, or $985,000, more than last year’s tax levy. In all, the budget stands at $50.77 million.

The change will mean an average tax increase of about $113, versus the originally proposed $116, for the average assessed home in Rahway ($133,000). The municipal budget comprises about 40 percent of the overall property tax bill.

The City Council also unanimously adopted a budget for the Special Improvement District (SID) in the amount of $130,000, which funds the Rahway Arts District.