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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.

recallbethmason January 08, 2013 at 12:24 AM
and again beth mason voted against this? does she really think anyone will ever vote for her again in any election after her actions over the last year and half. simply disgusting. no other way to describe it.
demosthenes January 08, 2013 at 01:47 PM
I watched the meeting and there was no confusion at all. The City Clerk and lawyer both said the budget failed and nobody said otherwise. Was everybody wrong? If so why? In fact, the council voted twice - once on the Mayor's proposal and then after that "failed" again on Mike Russo's proposal. Again - there was NO confusion - the public was clearly told and everyone agreed that both proposals had failed. Claire - which version did the city later decide had passed? If it was the one Mike Russo argued against for an hour he must be pretty pissed off. What does he think about the city suddenly declaring that something he vehemently opposed had for some reason passed? Does he agree that it passed? If so, why is he suddenly willing to accept the word of the City Attorney when he never has before? This is all very strange and Patch's oddly vacuous coverage is part of the strangeness. Maybe Patch will write a followup or more likely someone else will cover whatever actually happened but this story reads like it was written by someone who has no actual idea even of what occurred publicly at the meeting, much less in the non-public aftermath to turn the result of the meeting on its head. If Patch waited to write the story to get it right that would be commendable but waiting to write a piece that completely mischaracterizes what happened at a public meeting instead of trying to make sense of what actually occurred is a disservice to your readers.
XJS January 08, 2013 at 06:24 PM
I just want to point out that Tim skipping the meeting caused this passage. Hopefully one of the obstructionists can just keep not coming and things can move forward.
Ojo Rojo January 08, 2013 at 06:37 PM
His presence I am sure was not missed. Not like he ever contributes anything useful to the discussion.
QJ201 January 08, 2013 at 08:22 PM
I guess you are assuming that Patch is interested in actual NEWS rather than fluff.

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