Lambertville City Council and Mayor Andrew Nowick adopted a new budget Thursday, June 16, which includes a tax hike.
The new budget will cost residents an average increase of $172 annually in taxes for a home assessed at $409,000. Nowick explained that only 15.83% of the tax levy goes to the municipality.
In New Jersey, the ANCHOR tax rebate program was proposed in March. If this passes, households earning less than $150,000 per year would get a $1,500 property tax credit and for those earning $150,000 to $250,000 there would be a credit of $1,000.
There are grants currently pending in Lambertville to offset the city’s expenses, such as $308,000 for the Closson property improvements and a community fund grant for $450,000.
Lambertville now has a “User Friendly” budget on its website, which also breaks down the property taxes, at lambertvillenj.org.
Nowick believes the current budget is on track to reduce the city’s debt, which will go down in two years as the bond payments are reduced.
Residents offered suggestions to increase revenue, including providing more cultural activities in town and programs of historical interest, especially at the Closson property.
There was also concern over the school and library budgets, which are available to the public to review as well.
A resident proposed launching a committee of residents who work in the financial field to help assist in budget planning. Lambertville’s attorney said that under state law they must be an elected official.
Nowick said the public is welcome to comment and open hearings are held for the budget. There has been an exceedingly small turnout from the public at the last few budget hearings.
During the meeting, a proclamation was issued proclaiming Sunday, June 26 as “Liz Magill Peer’s Sustainability Day.” Liz Magill Peer was appointed chair of the Lambertville Environmental Commission. She has instituted various programs in the city, including trex recycling, banning the use of plastic bags and the reusable bottle distribution in schools. Peer is also a member of New Jersey’s Resiliency Program sponsored by the NJDEP and FEMA.
Council passed a resolution allowing the NJDEP to take necessary legal action if Lambertville is not protecting its residents from flooding. Due to the recent increase of flooding, the state will impose stormwater management requirements ensure more safety for residents.
Liquor licenses were approved for several Lambertville establishments including TJ’s of Hopewell, the new owner of the Inn of the Hawke.
Lambertville has also renewed the contract with the Acme Screening Room for another year at $300 per month. The payment was deferred due to the damages from Hurricane Ida.
There will be amendments to Lambertville’s Affordable Housing Ordinance. These include providing five new housing units. The second reading and public hearing regarding housing will be held on July 21.
An ordinance was introduced allowing the maximum of four retail permits to cannabis establishments with two of these being microbusinesses. There will also be a public hearing on this at the July 21, meeting.