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Freehold Township budget checks in at $41.6M for 2019

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

The budget, which was adopted by committee members on April 29, 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 total budget has increased by $1.2 million from 2018 and the tax levy has increased by $418,154 from 2018.

In 2018, the municipal tax rate was 34 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the township was assessed at $420,294 and the owner of that home paid about $1,429 in municipal taxes last year.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 33.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the average home assessment is now estimated at $420,410. The owner of that home will pay about $1,396 in municipal taxes.

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 and a fire district tax.

An individuals pays more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

The 2019 budget includes the following appropriations: public safety (police), $10.1 million; insurance, $7.31 million; debt, $4.45 million; public works, $4.10 million; statutory expenditures, $3.90 million; reserve for uncollected taxes, $1.94 million; shared services, $1.37 million; utilities and bulk purchases, $1.15 million; and parks and recreation, $780,200.

“The 2019 municipal budget for Freehold Township builds on years of financial planning and fiscal management,” Freehold Township Mayor Barbara McMorrow said. “By managing spending and aggressively paying off debt, we have been able to consistently build surplus to keep the tax rate low.

“In addition to our plans to continually be more energy efficient, this budget also reflects our continued dedication to infrastructure with a large commitment to road paving through our capital program,” she continued. “We also continue to increase our shared services with other municipalities which have been mutually beneficial.
“Sometimes what happens nationally impacts us at home. For example, an important component of the budget this year is our resolve to partner with our schools to provide police officers in our K-12 schools as a responsiveness to our responsibility to our community, as well as the fiscal awareness that both the township and the school districts have to our residents.
“Another example is the nationwide increase in recycling costs, which Freehold Township was able to leverage surplus and other revenues to mitigate the impact of that cost on the tax rate. We are committed to keeping the tax rate stable without adversely impacting the services we provide to our residents,” McMorrow said.

Freehold Township has 12,613 parcels, of which 11,433 are residential, 468 are vacant land, 407 are commercial and 274 are farms. The average ratio (%), assessed to true value, is 100%, which reflects that properties are assessed at 100% of their market value.

According to the budget document, Freehold Township has 206 full-time employees and 76 part-time employees. Total personnel costs for 2019 will be $26.12 million (approximately 62.8%) of the $41.6 million budget.

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