Linden Budget Calls For Tax Increase, Furloughs

LINDEN – Municipal taxes will rise about $100 for the average Linden resident under the proposed 2009 budget, which calls for furloughs of city employees and deferrals of municipal pension contributions.

Taxes will go up $103 on a property assessed at the city average of $141,100. While the planned increase is smaller than in recent years, the average municipal tax bill will climb to $2,100.

The proposed 2009 budget comes in at around $88 million, more than $4 million less than the 2008 budget, which was $92.5 million. But the tax increase is necessary because revenue is down more than $4 million.

Personnel costs, which make up about half the budget, were the major target for cuts, officials said.

β€œThe council and the mayor definitely tried to eliminate positions where possible while still maintaining the same level of service the citizens of Linden are used to,” said treasurer Alexis Zack.

City officials negotiated voluntary furloughs with most of the unions representing city employees, except for firefighters and police officers. Municipal employees will be required to take four furlough days during the year, which can be taken in days or hours.

The city will save $3.1 million by reducing pension contributions by 50 percent, Zack said. Linden will need to form a plan for making the outstanding payments next year.

The city council will vote on the budget June 16.

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