March 14, 2014 (Kearny, NJ) Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos blames, among other factors, the State of New Jersey shortchanging the Town of Kearny on utility tax receipts for hosting two Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) power plants in South Kearny, for a property tax increase. Mayor Santos stated that per his calculations the Town of Kearny was suppose to receive 28 million dollars but only received 18.4 million dollars in utility tax receipts. The difference is a 9.6 million dollar shortfall.

PSEG Coal Burning Power Plants framed by the Pulaski Skyway in South Kearny NJ. Photo Courtesy

The shortfall is not the only item fueling a property tax hike. A $725,349 hike in employee health insurance; unanticipated overtime for police and fire in the amount of $640,000; cancellation of water contracts with the Towns of Nutley and Cedar Grove in the amount of $482,000 and an increase in sewerage fees to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission in the amount of $125,544.

Mayor Santos is seeking to receive 3 million dollars in state aid. But even with the expected state aid, property taxes will increase $70 for a home valued at $100,000. So a house valued at $400,000 would pay an additional $280.00 in property taxes. The above increase is only for the Municipal portion of the Town's total property tax bill. Increases in the Board of Education and/or County of Hudson will further increase the total property tax bill.

Under the current budget passed by the Mayor and Council, if the 3 million dollars in state aid does not arrive, the increase will be $330 for a home valued at $100,000. On a home valued at $400,000 the property tax increase would be $1,320.00

Mayor Santos was quoted as saying, “I will not vote and support a budget that has that increase in it”. Mayor Santos did not provide details on what he would cut from the town’s budget if the State Aid was not provided. Mayor Santos also did not outline what he planned to do with respect to having the State correct the shortfall of 9.6 million dollars in utility tax receipts.

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