Milltown officials lower expected tax rate hike


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Staff Writer

MILLTOWN — Borough officials have found themselves stuck in a bind as they review the 2017 budget numbers.

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Denise Biancamano, chief financial officer, said the proposed 2017 municipal budget that totals $9.35 million carries a proposed 2.9 cent tax rate increase. This translates to an increase of $46.32 on the average home assessed at $163,635 in Milltown.

Borough Council President Ronald Dixon, who chairs the Finance, Planning and Administration Committee, said when officials started the budget process in January, the increase was at 11 cents.

“Through a lot of cooperation through department heads, we’ve cut that down to 2.9 cents [per $100 of assessed valuation], which was a long way down and a hard way to cut, but we managed to keep everything going in town,” he said.

The issue faced by the borough is that it is owed roughly $2.6 million in back taxes from the large Ford Avenue property, which was formerly the Michelin Tire Company.

Dixon said the back taxes, which officials have been attempting to recover for the past few years, affects every piece of property in the borough because that shortfall has to be covered by everyone.

He said things are slowly happening with the Ford Avenue property. Currently, demolition of the 22.4-acre site is in process.

The back taxes on the site amount to $1.5 to $1.6 million and with interest the total owed to the borough is roughly $2.6 million, Dixon said.

Councilman Richard Revolinsky added that if one were to look at the borough’s operating expenses, they did not decrease because the Ford Avenue property is not paying its share of property taxes.

“We need to make [the void] up somewhere else,” he said.

Dixon noted despite the bind, there is some good news. Standard and Poor’s, a credit rating agency, upgraded the borough’s letter from A+ to AA- for its credit bond rating when the agency looked over the borough’s finances.

“They looked at past budgets and found no problems with prior budgets,” he said, adding that the credit agency found the borough financially sound and heading in the right direction.

The Borough Council introduced the budget in March and is expected to have a final adoption of the budget in May.

Contact Kathy Chang at

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