Following Discussion and Disagreement, City Lawyer Rules Vote on Budget Legal
A temporary budget to run the city's operaions for the first quarter of 2013 was passed in a 4-3 vote on Wednesday night.
City Attorney Melissa Longo has ruled that last week's contentious and confusing vote on a temporary budget was legal.
The budget passed in a 4-3 vote. Currently, the council has only eight members and Tim Occhipinti was absent for the vote.
This means that the city now has a temporary budget for the first quarter of the year and can pay its bills.
Confusion arose on Wednesday night when it was unclear if four votes was enough to pass temporary appropriations. Council members believed that five votes were needed. Longo and city clerk Jimmy Farino couldn’t give a conclusive answer.
And neither did the state of New Jersey. The DCA advised Mayor Dawn Zimmer that it'd be more appropriate for the local city attorney to make a ruling on the matter.
When Mayor Dawn Zimmer reached out to the Division of Community Affairs, she was told that corporation counsel would have to make that determination, according to a memo the mayor sent to the city council.
Longo then decided that the vote was legal. (she laid out how she got to that decision in a memo to the city council, also attached to this story).
Usually a temporary budget is 26.5 percent of last year’s budget.
In order to run the city — such as paying employees and bills — a temporary budget must be approved by the city council.