By KAYLA J. MARSH
EATONTOWN – Borough officials have introduced a $24.6 million budget where the local municipal tax rate remains the same for the third year in a row.
The Borough Council unanimously introduced the budget at the council’s April 13 meeting.
“We worked down to the final minute to finalize the budget and maintain that local tax rate for the third year in a row,” Borough Auditor Robert Oliwa said.
The total budget of $24,604,078 is a $760,653 increase over last year’s budget of $23,843,425.
The budget includes a tax levy of $17,186,598 – an approximately $681,431 or 4.13 percent increase over the 2015 levy of $16,505,167 million.
Oliwa said the municipal budget includes an estimated tax rate of 78.9 cents per $100 of assessed value – which remains the same from both 2014 and 2015.
“The net valuation taxable is $2,178,722,061, which is up $86,812,427 from the prior year or 4.15 percent,” Oliwa said.
According to Oliwa and Chief Financial Officer Dena Amodea, in 2016 a residence assessed at $300,000 will be assessed $2,367 in local municipal taxes, approximately the same level as in 2015.
“In 2016 a residence assessed at $330,248 will be assessed $2,605.65 of local municipal taxes, an increase of $21.30 or .82 percent over the 2015 average residential assessment local tax amount of $2,584.35,” Amodea said.
“In 2015 and 2014 the average residential assessment was $327,548 and $299,139 respectively.”
Oliwa said assessments would be finalized on May 16.
“Our borough assessor will be providing a final listing after appeals are heard to the Monmouth County Board of Taxation,” he said. “Of course, what a resident would pay, is just a function of what the assessments are.
“The tax rate’s been calculated based on the assessments at this point and they went up substantially from 2015.
He said the borough’s state aid revenue amount has remained stable as it has for the past seven years at $1,464,615.
Oliwa said it was quite a year for the regeneration of the borough’s current account surplus.
“At the end of 2014, it had already figured an approximately $3,800,000 of surplus and we had a fantastic collection rate in 2015 which certainly generated excess surplus funds.
“It was a 98.42 percent tax collection rate in 2015 and the borough was able to generate approximately an extra $322,000 to surplus accounts of which an additional $100,000 will be appropriated into the surplus to maintain that local tax rate level.”
Oliwa said the total 2016 budget appropriations increased by 2.85 percent over the 2015 budget.
Some of the major increases and decreases for appropriations included the debt service decreasing by $218,220, police salaries and wages going up approximately $200,000 or 3.89 percent, a new line item of appropriation entitled solid waste collection (residential) added totaling $150,000 and health insurance going up 8.39 percent or $291,450.
Oliwa said this year’s Capital Budget totals approximately $1,423,544 and includes projects for road and building improvements as well as the acquisition of machinery, vehicles and equipment.
“I think the residents will be pleased with how [the budget] worked out this year [and] it is a testament to our professionals,” Councilman Anthony Talerico Jr. said.
A public hearing on the introduced budget will be conducted on May 25 at Borough Hall on Broad Street at 7:30 p.m.