Freehold Township officials trim tax levy of defeated fire district budget

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Township Committee in Freehold Township has reduced the Freehold Township Fire District No. 2 Board of Fire Commissioners’ proposed 2020 tax levy by $200,000.

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 2020 budget that totaled $1.44 million and was to be supported by the collection of $1.24 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. 15, 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 10, committee members passed a resolution amending the Fire District No. 2 budget and reducing the total from $1.44 million to $1.39 million.

The committee members authorized a tax levy of $1.04 million, which was about $200,000 less than the $1.24 million tax levy proposed by the fire commissioners.

Municipal officials made the following amendments to line items in the fire district’s budget: the categories of total revenues and unrestricted fund balance to be used increased from $198,447 to $348,447, and total administration decreased from $190,000 to $140,000.

For 2020, the fire commissioners proposed a fire district tax rate of 4.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $400,000 would have paid about $168 in a fire district tax if the budget had been approved by voters.

Municipal officials said that as of March 10, the revised fire district tax rate for 2020 has not been calculated because they have not been provided with a certified Monmouth County assessment.

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