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Marlboro council introduces $39 million municipal budget

MARLBORO – The Township Council has set April 11 as the date for a public hearing on a $39.06 million budget that will fund the operation of Marlboro in 2019. The budget was introduced by the council on March 7.

To support the budget, Marlboro’s residential and commercial property owners will pay a total of $27.19 million in property taxes this year. Other revenues will account for the remaining $11.87 million.

In 2018, the municipal tax rate was 37.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the average home assessment was $493,926 and the owner of that home paid about $1,871 in municipal taxes.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 37.8 cents per $100. The average home assessment has increased to $494,605 and the owner of that home will pay about $1,869 in municipal taxes – a decrease of $2.

The municipal tax rate and the assessed value of a property determine the amount of municipal taxes a property owner pays. Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Marlboro K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and other assessments.

Township officials anticipate receiving $2.3 million in state aid in 2019, the same amount Marlboro received in 2018. Officials will use $5.5 million from surplus funds (savings) as revenue in the 2019 budget. In 2018, officials used $4.6 million from surplus.

In a budget statement, Mayor Jonathan Hornik said, “The challenge of managing the extreme weather conditions of the last several years continues to drive the township’s cost of operations. Our budgets have had to absorb the increased costs of snow removal, in particular, which has increased more than 300 percent since 2007.

“We also continue to grapple with state mandates, including an 11 percent increase in our New Jersey pension system contribution. Despite these pressures, we continue to deliver and expand the services our residents expect while remaining $1.95 million below the state tax levy cap and $1.24 million below the state spending cap,” he said.

Hornik said the 2019 budget provides funds for a down payment on another $5 million road improvement program.

“The erratic and extreme weather of the past decade continues to take a toll on our infrastructure and we hear from residents about road conditions more than any other issue,” the mayor said.

“With an AAA bond rating reaffirmed by Standard and Poor’s in 2018, we continue to invest in infrastructure at rates three times higher than in past years, and at the lowest cost of financing available,” he said.

Hornik said the 2019 budget includes $320,000 for the township’s share of a school security program that was initiated in 2018 with the Marlboro K-8 School District and the Freehold Regional High School District.

“I regard it as a duty to do everything in my power to ensure we do not experience an act of violence in our schools like that experienced in Parkland (Fla.) and other communities throughout the country. Keeping our kids and educators safe in school is not a choice, it is an obligation,” the mayor said.

Hornik highlighted the budget’s inclusion of a $119,531 recycling tonnage grant award from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, an award three times what Marlboro has received in the past.

One of the largest line items in the municipal budget is the Marlboro Police Department. Police base salaries and wages in 2018 totaled $8.88 million. That amount is expected to increase to $9.29 million in 2019. In 2018, $505,042 was budgeted for police operations. In 2019, the budget for police operations is $607,839.

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