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Allentown council schedules public hearing for 2018 budget

ALLENTOWN – The owner of a home assessed at the Allentown average of $290,270 will pay $2,322 in municipal taxes in 2018, the same as in 2017.

Borough officials will collect the same total amount of money from Allentown’s property owners in 2018 – $1.54 million – as they collected to support the budget in 2017.

On March 13, members of the Borough Council introduced the 2018 municipal budget. Chief Financial Officer June Madden is expected to discuss the spending plan at 7 p.m. April 10 at Borough Hall.

In voting with his colleagues to introduce the budget, Councilman John A. Elder III, who joined the governing body in January, said he was “very impressed with the way council reviewed the budget. We initially thought we would have an increase, but we got together, made some cuts, and have no increase.”

As introduced, appropriations in the 2018 municipal budget total $2.45 million. Salaries and wages account for $958,500. Allentown’s total number of employees in 2017 was 26 and that will remain the same for 2018. Salaries and wages in 2017 amounted to $943,610.

Other appropriations include $875,859 for other expenses (down from $1 million), $235,499 for debt service (same as 2017) and $150,000 as a reserve for uncollected taxes (down from $172,000), according to a budget document.

Revenues will include a tax levy of $1.54 million to be collected from residential and commercial property owners, $407,000 from Allentown’s surplus fund (savings) and an anticipated $131,595 in state aid.

The municipal tax rate is projected to remain at 80 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Municipal taxes are one component of a property owner’s total tax bill. Allentown property owners also pay Upper Freehold Regional School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes, among other assessments.

Initially, Allentown’s 2017 municipal budget totaled $2.44 million and was supported by a tax levy of $1.54 million, the use of $380,400 from surplus and the receipt of $131,595 in state aid.

The borough subsequently received grants for Phase II of a streetscape project, which pushed total appropriations for 2017 to $3.72 million, but the receipt of the grants did not affect the total amount of taxes that were collected from property owners, Madden said.

In addition to the 2018 municipal budget, officials have also produced a budget for the water utility, $668,240 (up from $659,076 in 207) and the sewer utility, $1.1 million (up from $798,700 in 2017).

The $301,300 increase in the sewer utility budget is attributable to additional costs of construction administration for renovations at the borough’s waste water treatment plant, and to an Administrative Consent Order the borough has signed with the state Department of Environmental Protection. The consent order includes a fine related to violations at the treatment plant, according to Madden, who said those two items are one-time costs.

School taxes account for approximately 63 percent of every tax dollar paid by an Allentown property owner; municipal taxes account for 25 percent; county taxes account for 11 percent; and local open space taxes account for 1 percent, according to municipal officials.


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