Belleville Council Starts Budget Process
The spending plan is called "very preliminary" by township officials, with more spending cuts coming to reduce the tax burden for Belleville property owners.
The Belleville Township Council recently began working on its municipal budget.
Township officials say it's time to decide what to cut and what to keep, and how to relieve overburdened taxpayers. The seven township council members all voted to introduce the 2012 town budget at the May 22 public meeting.
Officials said $1.2 million is already trimmed from the preliminary $56.4 million budget, and some council members have said more will be cut.
They say they want to keep essential services, including police and fire personnel and equipment, but also don't want to overburden taxpayers with a large increase in municipal taxes.
First Ward Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke was one council member who did not unwaveringly support the budget process, saying she feels left out of the process.
"I'm not on the committee, and do not get regular updates on what's happening," she said. "But I will support a plan that is in the best interests of the taxpayers."
Voters already approved a $61.3 million 2012-13 Board of Education budget on April 17 that contains a zero dollar tax increase for a home assessed at $244,562, the average price of a home in Belleville
This is the second year in a row that the average tax bill has not been raised by the Board of Education.
The Essex County Budget, which is the third budget that affects taxpayers, is not yet finalized.
The final 2011 municipal budget totaled more than $56 million and kept taxes basically the same as 2010, according to officials.