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Freehold Township officials authorize reduction in fire district’s tax levy

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Township Committee has reduced the Freehold Township Fire District No. 2 Board of Fire Commissioners’ proposed 2019 tax levy by $325,000.

Fire District No. 2 is east of Route 9. Firefighting services in the fire district are provided by the East Freehold Fire Company.

Earlier this year, the fire commissioners proposed a 2019 budget that totaled $2.27 million and was to be supported by the collection of $1.21 million in taxes from the fire district’s residential and commercial property owners.

When the budget was placed before the fire district’s voters on Feb. 16, it was defeated. The vote total was unavailable from representatives of Fire District No. 2.

According to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office and the Monmouth County Board of Elections, the results of the fire district election are not required to be reported to either office.

With the defeat of the proposed budget, the spending plan was sent to the Township Committee for review.

On March 23, committee members passed a resolution amending the Fire District No. 2 2019 budget and reducing it from $2.27 million to $2.01 million.

The committee members authorized a tax levy of $889,322, which was about $320,700 less than the tax levy proposed by the fire commissioners. The total unrestricted fund balance to be used in the budget was raised from $1.05 million to $1.11 million.

For 2019, the fire commissioners proposed a fire district tax rate of 4.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $420,287 would have paid about $181 in a fire district tax.

With the lower tax levy that was certified by Freehold Township’s governing body, the fire district tax rate is projected to be 1.34 cents per $100. The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $420,287 will pay about $56 in a fire district tax.

A fire district tax is one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, municipal taxes, school taxes 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.

Committee members made the following amendments to line items in the Administration-Other account: physicals reduced from $43,600 to $22,600; professional fees reduced from $45,000 to $25,000; uniforms reduced from $10,000 to $1,500; $5,000 in special purchases removed; office supplies reduced from $17,500 to $15,000; training reduced from $10,000 to $7,500; cell phones reduced from $10,000 to $7,500; telephones reduced from $2,500 to $1,500; and five prevention increased from $2,000 to $5,000.

In total, the Administration-Other account was reduced by $60,000 (from $148,600 to $88,600), reducing the total Administration account by $60,000 (from $192,000 to $132,000). Total capital appropriations were reduced from $1.04 million to $835,000, a $200,000 reduction, according to the resolution.

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