Hopewell Township adopts $23.11 million budget for 2020 municipal operations

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Hopewell Township Committee members unanimously voted to adopted a $23.11 million budget to fund municipal operations in 2020.

Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger, Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski, Committeewoman Julie Blake and Committeewoman Courtney Peters-Manning voted “yes” to adopt the budget on May 18.

“I am unable at this point give anyone a cent value because we do not have final assessed value of the town, so that calculation is not possible at this time,” said Elaine Borges, business administrator and chief financial officer in regards to a municipal tax rate in 2020.

Borges confirmed that residential and commercial property owners are projected to pay $16.07 million to support the the 2020 budget.

According to township officials, they have also set aside funds to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“In 2019 at this time we had collected 96.33% of the property taxes, this year we are at 95.07%. We need to be prepared for lower receipts due to the economic effects of COVID-19,” Kuchinski said. “Elaine Borges has taken action within the municipal budget to freeze year-to-date savings to free up additional monies to cover added COVID-19 costs or revenue impacts.”

The 2019 budget totaled $23.12 million. Residential and commercial property owners paid a total tax levy of $15.75 million to support the budget.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate was 39.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of an average home assessed at $464,000 paid $1,842 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes school taxes and Mercer County taxes.

The amount an individual pays in taxes is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property, and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

For 2020, officials will use $1.18 million from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget.

In the 2019 budget, officials used $1.36 million from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget.

In addition to property taxes and funds from surplus, revenues in the 2020 budget are projected to include $3.32 million in miscellaneous revenues and $1.65 million in state aid.

Hopewell Township’s budget covers the cost of providing law enforcement through the police department, public safety, public works, shared service agreements, road and street maintenance and construction, general government, maintenance for township parks and capital projects.