By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Voters have given their stamp of approval to the 2016 budget that was proposed by the Board of Fire Commissioners. In the annual fire district election held on Feb. 20, the budget was approved in a vote of 82 to 23.
The fire commissioners proposed a budget of $1.99 million to support the operation of the fire district in 2016. The budget will be supported through the collection of $1.74 million in taxes, according to the spending plan.
There will be no increase in the fire district’s tax rate, which will remain stable at 10.95 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in 2016. According to Fire Commissioner David Markunas, this is due to the fire district using a surplus amount of $95,000 from the 2015 budget, $115,000 being taken from the capital reserve account, and an increase in property valuations.
With a tax rate of 10.95 cents in place, the owner of a home that is assessed at $400,000 will pay $438 in fire district taxes in 2016. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay $548 in fire district taxes and the owner of a home assessed at $600,000 will pay $657 in fire district taxes.
“My fellow commissioners and I would like to thank the voters for approving this year’s budget,” Markunas said. “The Board of Fire Commissioners has worked very hard over the last few years to control costs while maintaining a high state of preparedness for emergency response.”
In the fire commissioner election, Markunas was re-elected to a three-year term in an unopposed race. He received 52 votes. Markunas has served on the Board of Fire Commissioners since 2007 and is currently the board’s chairman.
“I am grateful to the residents of Millstone Township to have the privilege to serve another term as fire commissioner,” he said.