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HomeLocal NewsCouncilman Musella Successful in Public Hearing Demand

Councilman Musella Successful in Public Hearing Demand

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Council voted unanimously to introduce the 2023 Municipal Budget at Tuesday, April 18 council meeting. The second reading and final adoption are set for Tuesday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter.

Parsippany residents are facing another tax increase due to the introduction of a $242,243,625.75 budget.

The municipal portion of the budget is $60,497,056.75, up from 2022 which was $58,280,084.00; Municipal Library Tax is $3,168,912.00, up from  $2,995,088.00; Municipal Open Space is $1,461,601.00 up from $1,458,635.00; Local School District (Estimated) $152,541,056.00 up from $149,484,427.00; County (Estimated) $24,000,000.00 up from $23,439,094.00; County Open Space (Estimated) $575,000.00 up from $565,003.00.

The 2022 Municipal Tax rate was 0.798 and in 2023 will increase to 0.828 or a 3.76% property tax levy.

The proposed budget shows an increase in the property tax levy of 3.76% and an overall tax increase of 2.57%, or $99.23 more per year per homeowner, based on an average home valuation in Parsippany of $313,063.

Mayor James Barberio said, “We are putting forward a responsible, balanced budget that provides the services our community deserves. The overall increase in the tax rate is 2.57%, and the local tax rate is 3.76%. That’s a $99.23 annual impact on the average homeowner. That comes to $8.33 a month. Nobody likes the budget with a tax increase, but we have minimized the amount of the increase while dealing with significant nationwide economic impacts and external influences. The balanced budget overcomes significant fixed cost increases created by rising inflation and contractual increases, and, prepares the townships for the future through critical infrastructure improvements and public safety investments. On top of the ongoing inflationary and supply chain issues, we are dealing with increases in health benefits costs, increased pension costs, increased utility costs, increased liability insurance premiums, and increased debt interest pressure among other items through investments in our public safety.”

“Our health benefits went up approximately 9%. Our debt interest went up 33%.  Our pension costs are about 14%, 15%, and utility costs are up 14%,” continued Barberio.

According to a message included with the budget, “The budget process allows any interested resident to be better informed. After the introduction, the Township will be available to answer questions by phone or email and the public will have the opportunity to communicate their ideas/concerns with the Administration at any time during the period before the final hearing. This is about maximizing opportunities to be transparent with public funds and providing members of the public to be involved in the process.”

Click here to download a “User-Friendly Budget.”

Councilman Justin Musella was firm on having the Township Council hold public hearings with the department heads to understand the increases in the budget and to allow taxpayers an opportunity to ask questions to the Administration, Department Heads, and Councilmembers.

It was after the Council approved the introduction of the budget, Musella, then made a motion to hold public hearings. The motion was seconded by Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., and then voted in favor by all the other council members.

Mayor Barberio, Council President Loretta Gragnani, and Council Vice President Michael dePierro initially resisted the request, saying they were confident there was no fat left to cut in the budget.

“I think the important thing that we owe to the taxpayers is having a process where there is public input and we have the opportunity to interview the department heads, the CFO, and the business administrator,” Musella said. “So that way, I can have a full understanding as to the meaning behind the full increase.”

Councilman Paul Carifi agreed with Musella, then others fell in line and eventually the vote was unanimous to schedule a budget hearing. “I’m all for it,” Carifi said.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio

Mayor Barberio insisted to the Council that there is nothing to cut from his budget and holding any public budget session “is ridiculous, and if you guys want to do it, you can do it……set up your meetings.”

Throughout the State of New Jersey, special budget hearings are routinely held during which department heads publicly outline their budgetary needs and provide insight into increased funding requests. For example, Boonton and Denville hold public budget workshops that involve public and council participation. Wayne Township held its special budget meeting during which all department heads and Mayor Christopher Vergano fielded questions and provided their opinions on various topics before the introduction of Wayne’s budget.

To download the complete introduced budget click here.

Council President Loretta Gragnani scheduled the Public Hearing for Tuesday, May 2 at Parsippany Municipal Building, 1001 Parsippany Boulevard. The hearing will start from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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