The GOP-controlled Hamilton City Council today lashed out at Mayor Glen Gilmore, charging the Democrat with sitting on the town’s budget and riding out the election before notifying taxpayers of a 25 % tax hike.
"Under law the budget was supposed to be produced by August 10th, but he wants to put it off," complained Council President Dave Kenny, who said the most obvious preliminary numbers to jump out at him were from a recent auditor’s findings showing $4 million in increased spending and $2 million in decreased revenues, among other add-ons.
Kenny, who supports businessman John Bencivengo in his bid for mayor against Gilmore, said the council has been requesting a copy of the budget since May. "We were promised the budget by Sept. 15th," said the council president. "The voters have a right to know about the financial condition of the township."
But the document has not been forthcoming, Kenny said. The mayor presides over a current budget of roughly $80 million in this swing town where a well-connected Gilmore is the favorite.
"The Republicans have been saying for several months that taxes will go up at least 20%," said David Rebovich, managingdirector of Rider University’s Institutefor New Jersey Politics. "That’s been a centerpiece of their campaign against Gilmore. But in fairness to Gilmore, it’s been a tradition in Hamilton politics that regardless of who the mayor is, the mayor waits until after the election to reveal the fiscal year budget. It is an unwelcome tradition."