Council Approves 2021 Budget 4-1; Carifi Votes No!

Council Vice President Loretta Gragnani, Council President Michael dePierro, Councilwoman Emily Peterson, Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., Councilwoman Janice McCarthy

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council voted on Tuesday, September 7 to approve Mayor Soriano’s 2021 Budget, 4-1. Councilman Paul Carifi voted against the budget.

Municipal tax rate increase (including Public Library) is 4.28%. This will increase the average homeowner assessed at $311,780 and an additional $97.62 (per year) on the municipal portion of the tax bill.

The total municipal budget for 2021 is $79,733,383, and increase of $2,676,609 over the 2020 budget of $77,056,774. (The 2020 finally adopted budget was $76,333,905.78 subsequently modified by various grants received for a total budget of $77,056,774.70)

“A very challenging budget season for various reasons but in the end, the overall tax rates will be hovering around 2%, including the Fire Districts,” stated Parsippany’s Chief Financial Officer Juan Uribe.

“I originally voted to keep the $1.1 million in the budget so that the tax increase for our residents would remain at 2.15%. By removing that money from the budget raises the taxes to  4.28% which I do not want to do. We already had to increase the sewer and water rates by 39% this past year because our surplus no longer exists. That increase still keeps us in the middle of the county as far as water and sewer rates and those rates have not been raised in 12 years but still counting that and the effects of the COVID pandemic and many residents losing their jobs I just feel increasing taxes above and beyond what was proposed at this time is not fair to our residents.  I did my due diligence as I always do and spoke to many residents in the town and every single person that I spoke to said to me please do not raise my taxes any more than what is being proposed and it is for these reasons I voted not to raise taxes more than what was being proposed,” stated Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr.

Parsippany Republican Committee Chairman Lou Valori stated “I urged on behalf of our overwhelmed taxpayers at a Council Meeting with Council President Michael dePierro not to raise taxes.”

Council President Michael dePierro said “The Township is halfway through the third quarter of the year before the Mayor can find enough gimmicks to balance his budget. The Mayor has pushed most of the Township’s deficit into the 2022 budget. The 2022 budget will prove to be a nightmare for Parsippany taxpayers. In an attempt to pay down some of that deficit in 2021, the Council rejected the Mayor’s request to borrow $1.1 million from the 2022 budget. We still have a serious overestimate of Revenue and a serious underestimate of Expenses. As of this writing, the CFO has not been able to provide a calculation for Municipal Taxes or the Tax Rate.”

“Residents who addressed the council praised the fact that this budget didn’t use millions of dollars in utility reserves to balance the budget and at the same time asked the council to approve a budget with a 2.2% tax increase that was achieved by using millions of dollars in reserves. They were just different reserves.  There are no more utility reserves to use and those reserves are what replaced revenue and kept taxes artificially low for too many years. The council’s decision not to approve $1.1 million in reserves along with a 4.2% tax rate is intended to slightly increase cash and revenue and hopefully lessen a higher tax increase next year, but more importantly, it begins to limit the use of reserves to compensate for revenue and introduces a degree of accountability,” said Janice McCarthy.

Click here to download the budget.