SOUTH AMBOY — Mayor John T. O’Leary lambasted Republican Gov. Christopher Christie for forcing local homeowners to absorb another tax hike.
“We had this budget in balance with little or no increase but bureaucrats in the Christie administration refused to recognize a perfectly legitimate revenue item,” said O’Leary.
O’Leary explained that O’Neill Property Group, which is the contract purchaser and designated developer for the McCormack Aggregate tract, agreed to pay the city $800,000 before year end.
“We are going to have that money in hand and our struggling homeowners
could have been spared another tax hike but Christie said no,” said O’Leary.
A reduction in state aid and increased pension contributions created a $911,000 shortfall in the municpal spending plan, said Gary Higgins, the city auditor. Higgins noted that state aid had declined from $4.3 million in 2009 to $3.8 million in 2010 and mandated pension costs virtually doubled in one year.
“The state continues to force local governments to fund the pension plan,
and at the same time they skip their payments,” Higgins said.
After initially giving a green light to the anticipated revenue, the state Department of Community Affairs pulled the plug on the $800,000, forcing a tax increase for a home assessed at the city average of $266,000 of about $250.
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