A $37 million budget that calls for a 4.2% increase in municipal taxes was narrowly approved by the Mahwah town council earlier this month, NorthJersey.com reported.
According to the report, the council was divided over several issues in the budget, namely the hiring of a search firm to find a permanent replacement for the retired head of the town's Department of Public Works, and a $50,000 dock to the police department's budget.
At a meeting on May 8, three council members - Lisa DiGiulio, Chuck Jandris, and Harry Williams - voted against the budget, saying they disagreed with the council's move of removing $50,000 from the PD's $5.8 million budget after meeting with Chief Jim Batelli, who explained why the department needed the money, the report said. Williams called the move "11th hour tactics," and said any cuts to the police budget should have been discussed when Batelli was in front of the council, the report said.
The budget also includes hiring Jersey Professional Management, a hiring firm that will place a temporary director at the DPW while searching for a full-time replacement for Keith Hallissey, who retired last month, the report said.
Mayor Bill Laforet suggested hiring the firm because the DPW is one of the largest departments in the township, but some council members objected to its $40,000 price tag.
Overall, the 2014 municipal budget will mean a $70.50 increase for the average homeowner in Mahwah with a home worth $470,000. Officials said that most of the increase was due to medical insurance costs and an increase in debt services, the report said.