Aberdeen council members introduce $22M municipal budget for 2020

ABERDEEN – Members of Township Council have introduced a municipal budget which will fund the operation Aberdeen Township in 2020. The local tax levy to support the budget will remain flat from 2019.

Township Manager Bryan Russell said the 2020 budget totals $22.05 million, which is an increase of $180,197 from the 2019 budget that totaled $21.87 million.

In 2019, officials collected a local tax levy of $12.21 million from the township’s residential and commercial property owners to help support the operation of the municipality.

The local tax levy will remain essentially the same in 2020 as it checks in at $12.22 million.

Russell said the council expects to adopt the budget by the end of May.

In 2019, officials used $950,000 from the township’s surplus fund (savings) as revenue in the budget and received $1.44 million in state aid.

In 2020, officials anticipate using $1.25 million from the surplus fund as revenue in the budget and expect to receive $1.44 million in state aid.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate was 54.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average assessment of a home in the township was $300,010. The owner of that home paid about $1,641 in municipal taxes.

In 2020, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 52.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average assessment of a home in the township is projected to be $312,900. The owner of that home will pay about $1,640 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

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

Russell said that for 2020, Aberdeen Township’s general liability costs have decreased due to a change in the carrier; healthcare costs have decreased as a result of efficiencies of the township’s health insurance fund and the use of an opt-out option for municipal employees; police salaries and wages stabilized because the police willingly renegotiated their contracts; and debt service is stabilizing as a result of the township’s debt restructuring and bonding with the Monmouth County Improvement Authority. He said additional savings will be seen in the future.

Increases in the budget include revenue for a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program is increasing because of the completion of new construction; surplus as revenue was increased due to a larger increase in all surplus balances, still maintaining strong balances and a commitment to capital improvement projects; and all revenues and expenses were re-evaluated with the start of the pandemic and changes were made in order to ease the effects of the crisis on residents.

Russell said no new municipal employees are being hired and no municipal employees are retiring and/or not being replaced. No municipal departments are being eliminated or consolidated.

“Capital improvements are done through ordinances. The major focus on improvements is for roads and infrastructure,” he said.