The Hillsborough Township Committee formally introduced its 2018 municipal budget, totaling $29.4 million, with residents expected to foot $19.3 million in taxes.
Following years of a flat tax rate, residents will be called upon to contribute to the municipality’s daily operation at a slightly lower rate of 32.6 cents per $100 of assessed value. Last year was the third consecutive year that the tax rate was 33 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Deputy Mayor Doug Tomson said the slight decrease reflected a push from the committee to keep costs low for residents.
“This budget is a direct result of the township committee’s commitment to continued fiscal responsibility; working efficiently while providing our taxpayers the same level of service excellence they expect and deserve,” Tomson said.
From 2015 to 2017, homes assessed at $350,000 have had to pay $1,155 a year in taxes. If the budget is passed next month, a household at that same assessed value will pay $1,141 in taxes for 2018.
Chief Financial Officer Nancy Costa said this year’s proposed tax decrease stemmed from a $195 million increase in the township’s total rateable value, which she said increases the tax base over which the tax levy is distributed.
“The increase in rateable value within the township helps to hold, or reduce, the municipal property tax each year, by providing more dollars over which the tax levy can be dispersed,” Costa said.
The proposed budget saw an overall increase from the $28.9 million budget for 2017 thanks to spending increases in four main categories: the capital improvement fund ($80,000), pension contributions ($89,352), utilities ($100,000) and an unanticipated increase in snow removal costs ($185,000) incurred during the multiple winter storms experienced from February through April.
Though officials said the township was entitled to take exceptions to go above the 2 percent cap, Costa said the township took none.
“If the township were to take advantage of the allowable exceptions and exceed the 2 percent levy cap, the taxpayers would have incurred an additional $157,743 in taxes,” Costa said. “The municipal budget comes in below the tax levy cap while receiving no additional state aid.”
The final hearing on the municipal budget is slated to take place at 7 p.m. in the municipal building on June 12. Full budget documents can be found online at hillsborough-nj.org.