Lambertville City Council and Mayor Andrew Nowick passed 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 valued at $409,000. Nowick explained that only 15.83% of the tax levy goes to the municipality.
In New Jersey, the ANCHOR tax refund program was offered in March. If this passes, households earning less than $150,000 a year would get a property tax credit of $1,500 and those earning $150,000 to $250,000 there would be a credit of $1,000.
Grants are currently pending in Lambertville to offset city expenses, such as $308,000 for improvements to the Closson property and a $450,000 community fund grant.
Lambertville now has a “friendly” budget on its website, which also breaks down property taxes, at lambertvillenj.org.
Nowick believes the current budget is on track to reduce the city’s debt, which will decline in two years as bond payments are reduced.
Residents made suggestions for increasing revenue, including providing more cultural activities in the city and programs of historical interest, particularly on the Closson property.
There were also concerns about school and library budgets, which are also available for public scrutiny.
A resident suggested starting a committee of residents who work in finance to help with budget planning. Lambertville’s attorney said under state law they must be elected.
Nowick said the public is being invited to comment and public hearings are being held for the budget. Public participation in recent budget hearings has been extremely low.
During the meeting, a proclamation was issued proclaiming Sunday, June 26 as “Liz Magill Peer Sustainability Day”. Liz Magill Peer has been named Chair of the Lambertville Environmental Commission. She has implemented various programs in the city, including recycling trex, banning the use of plastic bags and distributing reusable bottles in schools. Peer is also a member of the New Jersey Resilience Program sponsored by NJDEP and FEMA.
The council passed a resolution allowing the NJDEP to pursue the necessary legal action if Lambertville fails to protect its residents from flooding. Due to the recent increase in flooding, the state will be imposing stormwater management requirements to keep residents safer.
Liquor licenses have been approved for several establishments in Lambertville, including TJ’s of Hopewell, the new owner of the Inn of the Hawke.
Lambertville also renewed the contract with the Acme screening room for another year at $300 per month. Payment was deferred due to damage from Hurricane Ida.
There will be changes to the Lambertville Affordable Housing Ordinance. These include the provision of five new homes. The second reading and public hearing regarding housing will take place on July 21.
An ordinance has been introduced allowing the maximum of four retail licenses to cannabis establishments, two of which are micro businesses. There will also be a public hearing on this at the July 21 meeting.