Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration is avoiding hiking property taxes for a year by changing the budget year from fiscal to calendar.
Municipal officials will raise approximately $82 million from property owners in the six-month transition budget that covers the second half of 2020. That’s the same amount that was raised from taxation in the first six months of 2020. It’s the same amount that will be raised again in the first six months of 2021.
“You will essentially have six quarters — year and half — of flat municipal taxes,” said muncipal auditor Steven Wielkotz.
Members of the City Council approved the calendar switch last month. It changes the city from a fiscal year which runs from July 1 to June 30 to a calendar year which runs from January 1 to December 31. State officials also approved the change.
Paterson previously operated on a calendar year. That was changed in 1991.
“It is true,” said mayor Andre Sayegh on Wednesday of the six quarters of flat levy, “but if a person’s property has been reassessed he or she may see an increase.”
Municipal officials will have to raise taxes by 2 percent in the calendar year budget, but that increase won’t be seen by taxpayers until the second half of 2021, officials said.
Members of the City Council granted preliminary approval for a six-month $133.33 million transition budget that covers spending from July through December of 2020 on Tuesday night.
The city will get $32 million in state transitional aid in the fall, according to officials.
Wielkotz said with no pension payment in August, the city will be able to build a surplus that will be held in reserve for the calendar year budget. This will be the first time in five years the city builds a surplus.
“This is going to help us get our head above water and really help out taxpayers with some relief in their tax bills,” said councilman Al Abdelaziz.
The City Council approved the six-month transitional budget in a 6-2 vote. A public hearing and final vote is scheduled for September 8.
“Residents have been asking for a level of relief,” said councilwoman Lilisa Mimms.
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