Voters in Brick and Lambertville have approved referendums that will allow budgets in those townships to exceed the 2 percent cap on levy increases approved by the Legislature last year.
The two townships were among 14 throughout the state that put the referendum before voters Wednesday.
the 12 other municipalities that had hoped for voter approval to exceed the cap were Bordentown Township, Carney’s Point, Hardwick, Jackson, Lumberton, Mansfield, Medford, Mount Holly, Northvale, Oxford, Plumsted and Shrewsbury Township.
Of those that failed, the margins were generally in the double digits as voters overwhelmingly rejected the additional expenditures.
Of those that failed, Mount Holly came the closest with the referendum dropping by just seven points. Voters in Oxford sent the loudest message, rejecting the question there by an 82 to 18 margin.
This is the first year that municipalities were forced to put their cap-exceeding budgets to a public vote. In past years, municipalities hoping to exceed the four percent cap in effect until last year applied to the state for permission and requests were generally granted. Last year, Gov. Chris Christie shepherded through legislation that capped levy increases at 2 percent and required any overages to be put to the voters.
The municipalities that failed to gain voter approval are now forced to take a scalpel – and in some cases a machete – to their spending plans to find the necessary cuts that will bring them under the cap.