Mayor's Message Discusses 2020 Budget
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Dear Members of City Council, Residents and Taxpayers:
The proposed budget for 2020 has been submitted with a total expenditure of $94,366,088 supported by a levy of $35,904,525. The proposed budget holds the line on municipal taxes for the operation of City government with a zero increase, provides for the continuation of all essential City programs and services and remains in compliance with spending and levy cap requirements.
To accomplish this, we have furloughed 225 hourly and seasonal positions, plus 46 salaried non-essential positions.
We have suspended high-demand but non-essential services and inner-City transportation.
We have placed a freeze on all hiring, including the hiring of 30 essential personnel in Police, Fire, Water and DPW. We have also placed a freeze on all management salaries.
Several capital improvement projects are planned, including pedestrian and road safety upgrades to Livingston Avenue, Nichol Avenue, Joyce Kilmer Avenue and Handy Street. A number of traffic signal improvements will be undertaken and we will continue our City-wide road re-paving program, which will address a number of streets and neighborhoods around the City. We will continue to assess our streets to ensure repairs and improvements are made as needed.
The Parks Master Plan continues this year with the design of a new park at the site of the former Wolfson Parking Garage and a makeover for War Memorial Park. The City will also undertake the renovation of the Lincoln Gardens Greenway.
The budget also calls for a number of equipment, technology, and safety improvements for both Police and Fire.
Notwithstanding the hiring freeze referenced above, the City has applied for a SAFER Grant with the Federal Government seeking funds to be applied towards the salary and costs of the hiring of up to 12 new Firefighters, intended to replace those that retired or are anticipated to retire by the end of this year. Under this program, the City will be reimbursed 75% of the cost of a first-year firefighter for the first two years and 35% for the third year of the grant.
Additional investment in the infrastructure of our water and sewer utilities continues, furthering our commitments to providing high quality drinking water and to addressing the rising costs of wastewater treatment.
Once again, we continue to benefit from our revitalization efforts. Recent redevelopment projects have realized a $652,989 increase in revenue. As a result of City-wide development, we have also experienced a $31,395,000 increase in the total assessed valuation of taxable property in our City.
The taxes for the operation of City government for the average property owner in New Brunswick (defined as an owner of property assessed at $270,900) will remain flat at $2,838.
Thank you for your review of the proposed 2020 Budget. As always, your input and suggestions are welcome.