The then-$22.7 million budget would have brought a $53 tax increase for a home assessed at $529,800, the township average. Button asked the township manager and finance director to reduce the budget and schedule another vote.
This time it was introduced unanimously, but Councilwoman Stacey Jordan said she felt the original was "more responsible" because it had a cushion for emergencies and did not cut into services.
"I'm the last person who wants to raise taxes . . . but services will be cut if we don't raise some money to offset expenses," she said. There was a consensus on the original budget, she said, but then the mayor "played politics" after he decided to run for reelection as an independent.
Button said he wanted to be accountable to residents.
"People won't understand if taxes go up," he said. "The governor is fighting hard for a tax decrease and the county is keeping taxes down, and it would be irresponsible for us to not do the same."
Button noted that the town is expecting to receive $4 million from the first-time sale of liquor licenses this summer. Township officials were able to cut the spending plan partly by tapping some of that anticipated revenue, and drawing from a surplus in the water and sewer funds. Officials also cut out overtime costs for public-works employees, decided against buying an air conditioner for a recreation center, and made other trims. A hearing and final vote on the budget is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 23.
Contact Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @JanHefler.