South River council adopts $18.66 million budget for 2020

SOUTH RIVER – The Borough Council has adopted an $18.66 million budget to fund the operation of South River during 2020. The budget was adopted during a meeting on May 11.

According to a document posted on the borough’s website, South River’s residential and commercial property owners will pay a local tax levy of $10.27 million to support the budget. Property owners will pay an additional $480,181 to support the South River library.

Other revenues in the budget include $1.71 million from the borough’s surplus fund (savings), $3.2 million from the utility operating surplus and $825,291 to be received in state aid.

A revaluation of every property in South River has been completed and has led the municipal tax rate to decrease from $2.43 per $100 of assessed valuation in 2019 to 68 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in 2020.

Property owners will pay municipal taxes based on their property’s new assessed value and the new municipal tax rate.

Properties in South River had not been reassessed for 30 years and the borough was under order to conduct a revaluation. The borough-wide reassessment was conducted by Realty Appraisal Company.

Prior to the revaluation, the average home in South River was assessed at $82,288. With a tax rate of $2.43 per $100 in 2019, the owner of that home paid $1,997 in municipal taxes.

Following the revaluation, the average home in South River is assessed at $291,122. With a revised municipal tax rate of 68 cents per $100 in 2020, the owner of that home will pay about $1,979 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill. Property owners also pay South River school taxes and Middlesex County taxes.

The total amount of taxes paid is based on the assessed value of an individual’s home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

Selected appropriations in the 2020 budget include: $1.44 million for group health benefits; $215,000 for liability insurance; $3.71 million for police salaries and wages; $110,000 for special police officers salaries and wages; $220,000 for school guards salaries and wages; $216,000 for police dispatch salaries and wages;

And, $548,000 for road repairs and maintenance salaries and wages; $657,000 for garbage and trash removal salaries and wages; $312,000 for maintenance of parks salaries and wages; $340,000 for recycling; $1.27 million for payment of bond principal;

Also, the borough will make a $324,000 payment to the Public Employees’ Retirement System; a $282,000 payment to the Social Security System; and a $1 million payment to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey.

No new employees will be hired, but employees who retire will be replaced, according to municipal officials.

Capital improvements in the 2020 budget include road and drainage improvements; building and sidewalk improvements; water system improvements; park improvements; a Department of Public Works construction vehicle; a garbage truck; an electric bucket truck and trailer; a security system; police and fire equipment; and a firetruck.