The Nutley Board of Commissioners aim to slash the 2013 municipal budget by at least $180,000 and trim at least $1 million from capital improvement spending.
The board is scheduled to introduce a budget of approximately $55 million at a special Friday morning continuance of Tuesday's meeting.
The introduction and spending cuts are needed to meet the state-mandated deadline and to reduce the budget to less than a 2 percent increase, according to Commissioner Thomas Evans, director of the Department of Revenue and Finance.
"I need you all to really look at all of your department budgets, and to cut as much out as you can, then give the numbers to my department by Thursday morning," Evans said. "We have to cut at least $180,000 to get our tax levy below a 2 percent increase, as called for by the state under its cap."
Evans asked each commissioner to remove any spending on capital improvement projects, since the current capital budget is $1 million more than usual.
"We want to keep our number at $2.4 to $2.5 million, to keep our debt service costs staying stable," Evans said. "This is all part of having a good operating plan where everything works."
Normally, the capital improvement budget is about $1.3 million, but Evans said that an extra $1 million is being spent repairing roads damaged by Hurricane Sandy last October.
"We can do more this year and have a better economy of scale," Evans said.
Mayor Alphonse Petracco said he will look at his capital budget, including $900,000 for a new fire pumper truck, and bullet-proof vests.
"I am praying for this not to be the worst, and hoping for the best," Petracco said of his approach to finding areas to delay spending.
Evans said the commissioners needed to look at any purchase of equipment to see if anything can wait until 2014.
Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli, who directs the Department of Public Works, said he can spread the payment for a new sewer truck over two years and save about $150,000.
A reduction of about $50,000 was discussed by Commissioner Mauro Tucci, who said the cuts will be tough.
"I can take a little out of my budget, but the buildings are getting old," Tucci said.
Tucci directs the Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property.
He said the total needed to cut from the regular budget is about seven tenths of a tax point, but has to be done to meet the state's guidelines.
Commissioner Steve Rogers has only one item for his Department of Public Affairs, a small sport utility vehicle, and he and Evans joked if he could make the car smaller.
Last year, the commissioners enacted a $49.2 million 2012 municipal budget that officials said contained a decrease in taxes of approximately $48 for a home assessed at $326,300, the township average at the time.