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Freehold Township officials set April 29 as date for budget hearing

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Township Committee has introduced a $41.6 million budget to fund the operation of Freehold Township this year.

The 2019 municipal budget was introduced by committee members on March 26. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 8 p.m. April 29 at the municipal building. The committee may adopt the budget that evening.

The $41.6 million budget, which may be amended prior to its final adoption, will be supported by the collection of $21.9 million in taxes from the township’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenue includes $7.4 million in state aid and $6.9 million from surplus funds (savings).

Freehold Township’s 2018 budget totaled $40.4 million and was supported by the collection of $21.5 million in taxes from property owners. Other revenue included $7.4 million in state aid and $6.5 million from surplus funds.

The township’s total budget has increased by $1.2 million and the total tax levy has increased by $400,000 from 2018.

The municipal tax rate in 2018 was 34 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the township was assessed at $402,344 and the owner of that home paid $1,367 in municipal taxes last year.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 33.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the average home assessment is estimated at $420,287. The owner of that home will pay $1,391 in municipal taxes, an increase of $24.

Municipal taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Freehold Township K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, Monmouth County taxes, a fire district tax and other assessments.

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

“The 2019 municipal budget builds on years of financial planning and fiscal management,” Mayor Barbara McMorrow said. “We have consistently built surplus to keep the tax rate low by managing spending and aggressively paying off debt.

“The capital program is always an integral part of our budget,” she continued. “This year continues our long-standing responsibility to maintaining and improving our infrastructure with a large commitment to road paving. It also allows us to continue to be more energy efficient and to keep our facilities up to date to control maintenance costs.

“Partnering with our schools to provide police officers in our schools from kindergarten through 12th grade is a result of the collaborative effort that exists between the governing body and the school community, our combined responsiveness to address the issue of safety in our schools, as well as the fiscal awareness that both the township and the schools have regarding costs.

“While the nationwide increase in recycling costs is a negative impact in all communities, Freehold Township, in our commitment to stabilizing the tax rate, has been able to leverage surplus and other revenues to mitigate the impact of that cost on the tax rate. Throughout the year, whether planning for long-term strategies or short-term goals, we keep the current budget as well as the impact on future ones in mind,” McMorrow said.

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