LET'S DEMYSTIFY THE CITY BUDGET

Learn about our $595M+ city (ie municipal) budget, in community

To help taxpayers access the annual city budget, I've visualized it the 2019/20 proposed budget in Tableau, a data visualization software. Tableau puts the power of analysis in the user's hands; my hope is that YOU will dig into this budget data and feel empowered to engage, or perhaps more fully engage, the annual budgeting process.  I've provided some initial views that include search terms, filterable check box filters, and the picture-based budget visuals that result, along with sum-totals.  If you think of new ways to visualize or cut/slice into this data, I'm open to suggestions and idea.

A few notes about these initial views:

  1. I have broken Revenues and Appropriations into their own separate visualization.
  2. Revenues are how the city wants to fund itself. Some examples include: taxes, abatement "PILOT" fees, state aid, and local fees like marriage licenses.
  3. Expense is what the city wants to spend its money on. Some examples include our police force, fire department, public works trucks and employees, and administration employees who work in City Hall.

Insights & analysis to follow on CivicParent, but for now wanted to share the data.

City Budget View #1: Revenues (How the city wants to fund itself)

City Budget View #2: Appropriations (What the city wants to spend money on)

Finally, a note on timing and process:

  1. The mayor proposes the budget.
  2. The City Council introduces the budget into the public record (that happened on March 29th...the proposed budget is available online here). This is the budget that I've visualized on this page and in the links included on this page.
  3. The City Council must then hold public hearings on the budget. During this time, anyone can ask questions, raise concerns, and so on. This is an excellent time to share concerns with both the Council *and* the wider community.
  4. The City Council has the right to amend the mayor's proposed budget. The City Clerk can answer questions about this process. You can also ask about that process during the public meetings and also read about a bit about the process here.

Once available, I will post the dates/times that the city is expected to host budget hearings.

Insights & Analysis

CivicParent & Guest Posts as the Budget Process Unfolds

Note the Purple PILOT Fees: It Represents Foregone School Tax

F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Council will post budget hearing dates in the near future. Rolando Lavarro is the City Council president. You can reach out to him directly for status on this at (201) 547-5268 or RLavarro@jcnj.org.

The budget is posted on the city's "Financial Reports" page here.

"Appropriation" is what the city wants to spend money on. Unlike a private business, government is required to budget ahead of time and commit funds to specific purposes in advance. This is the process of "appropriating" funds to expected future services that need to be funded.

If it helps, think of "appropriation" as an expense. It is something that the government expects to fund in the coming year, and can include firefighter salaries, employee salaries for workers in City Hall, or expected payments on outstanding debt.