Manalapan committee adopts $34M budget for 2019

MANALAPAN – The Township Committee has adopted a $34.49 million budget to fund the operation of Manalapan during 2019.

The budget was adopted on April 24 by Mayor Susan Cohen, Deputy Mayor Jack McNaboe, Committeeman Kevin Uniglicht and Committeeman Barry Jacobson. Committeewoman Mary Ann Musich was absent.

In 2018, the municipal budget was adopted by the committee at a total of $33.8 million. The revised budget, after certain items were added in accordance with state law, was $33.91 million.

The 2018 budget was supported through the collection of $22.35 million in a local tax levy paid by Manalapan’s residential and commercial property owners. The township received $3.87 million in state aid and applied $3.67 million from its surplus fund as revenue in the budget.

The 2019 budget totaling $34.49 million will be supported by a tax levy of $22.96 million to be paid by residential and commercial property owners. State aid will remain unchanged at $3.87 million and the committee will apply $3.5 million from surplus as revenue in the budget.

The budget lists all of the revenues and appropriations municipal officials expect to receive and spend this year.

The largest single appropriation in the 2019 budget is for salaries and wages for employees in the Manalapan Police Department, at $7.66 million. In 2018, police salaries and wages totaled $7.34 million.

The appropriation for other police expenses in 2019 is $302,000. In 2018, the amount spent on other police expenses was $310,220. Monmouth County 911 dispatch services will cost Manalapan $345,513 in 2019.

Insurance has several categories and includes the following appropriations: Employee Group Health, $3.375 million; General Liability, $587,803; and Workers Compensation, $125,000.

Under the category of public works, streets and roads, salaries and wages have an appropriation of $1.67 million and other expenses of $209,500 for 2019. Under sanitation, solid waste collection, the appropriation for 2019 is $1.67 million. The amount spent in 2018 was $1.66 million.

Manalapan’s debt service payments for 2019 will be $3.2 million, which is up from $2.6 million in 2018.

During a presentation of the budget, Township Administrator Tara Lovrich said Manalapan has seen sanitation expenses increase. She said the township is mandated to dispose of garbage at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center in Tinton Falls.

Lovrich said it costs Manalapan $79 per ton to dispose of garbage at the landfill. She said that amount represents a $3.50 per ton increase from 2018, as imposed by county officials. Garbage collection is provided by the township and the cost is included in a property owner’s municipal taxes.

There are about 14,000 households in Manalapan and the township collects about 17,000 tons of garbage per year. With a disposal fee of $79 per ton, the cost would be $1.34 million, Lovrich said.

Regarding recycling, Lovrich said Manalapan used to get paid for its recyclable materials. She said with changes on the global market, specifically China declining to accept recyclable materials from the United States, the township now has to pay a vendor to take its recyclable materials.

“We will keep an eye on our garbage and recycling costs going forward to make sure that doesn’t go completely out of control,” she said.

No residents asked questions or made comments about the budget during the meeting.

Cohen, McNaboe, Jacobson and Uniglicht thanked Lovrich, Chief Financial Officer Patricia Addario and their staffs for the work they did to produce the 2019 budget.

“Hours and hours were spent getting this budget together. This is one of the most efficient towns I have ever been involved with,” Uniglicht said.

“It was a tough budget (to produce), but we scrimped and I think we did a good job,” Jacobson said.

In 2018, the average home in Manalapan was assessed at $428,076, the municipal tax rate was 33.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the owner of that home paid about $1,438 in municipal taxes.

In 2019, the average home in Manalapan is assessed at $448,700, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 33 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the owner of that home will pay $1,480 in municipal taxes.

Lovrich said for every $1 in total taxes a Manalapan property owner pays, 17 percent (i.e., 17 cents) goes to the township, 15 percent (15 cents) goes to Monmouth County, 45 percent (45 cents) goes to the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District, 20 percent (20 cents) goes to the Freehold Regional High School District, 2 percent (2 cents) goes to a municipal fire district and 1 percent (1 cent) goes to other assessments.

The amount of taxes a property owner pays is determined by the assessed valuation of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

In a statement, committee members said the 2019 budget “continues to provide a high quality of municipal services to residents while minimizing the financial impact to the township’s taxpayers.

“The proposed budget will maintain essential services such as law enforcement, snow removal, and leaf and brush collection. It will also include the return of the street sweeping program and will continue to provide recreational programs, senior citizen programs, health and human services, building inspections, and garbage and recycling collection.”