ROSELLE — After many delays and under the threat of penalty and fines from the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services, the Roselle Council recently voted 5-1 to pass a municipal budget that includes a tax increase averaging approximately $250 or more per household.
Prior to the budget vote, a public hearing was held and several taxpayers expressed their concern about the disarray of the borough’s finances.
“Tax bills have been sent out late for the past six quarters,” said Roselle taxpayer Maria Hegener. “The town’s public access television was disconnected for non-payment. Vendors have put the town on cash and they refuse to do business with us. Roselle is getting a reputation for not paying their bills. This has got to hurt the town’s credit rating and on top of this, the residents have to pay a tax increase?” Hegener fumed.
Taxpayer Aaron Johnson commented that residents are not receiving services that equal the increase in their tax dollars.
Councilman Yves Aubourg, who has been the borough’s finance chairman for two years, said that he takes full responsibility for Roselle’s financial situation.
Roselle resident Rahaman Muhammad said the municipal budget is not sustainable. “We have hired so many attorneys, engineering firms and other unnecessary professionals. We keep voting in the same political flunkies that are listening to their political bosses and they are all raping the town.”
Aubourg, along with council members Jamel Holley, Christine Dansereau and Cecilia D. Ricks, have consistently voted to hire new attorneys and to increase vendor contracts.
Councilwoman Sylvia Turnage stated she did not vote to approve the budget due to unjustified line item increases and unanswered questions.
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