Upper Freehold governing body adopts 2020 municipal budget


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UPPER FREEHOLD – The Township Committee has adopted a $5.94 million budget to fund the operation of Upper Freehold Township during 2020. Officials took the action during a meeting on May 7.

The $5.94 million budget will be supported in part by the collection of $3.11 million in taxes from Upper Freehold’s residential and commercial property owners, the appropriation of $1.49 million from surplus funds (savings) and the receipt of $518,481 in state aid.

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The budget includes the following appropriations: municipal debt service, $1.9 million; reserve for uncollected taxes, $1 million; public safety, $801,014; general government, $610,820; insurance, $369,019; deferred charges/statutory expenditures, $247,064; capital improvements, $235,000; public works, $225,485; code enforcement and administration, $192,200; and utilities, $121,500.

Upper Freehold’s 2019 budget totaled $5.66 million and was supported in part by the collection of $3.11 million in taxes from property owners. Although appropriations have increased by $280,000 from 2019 to 2020, the local tax levy has not increases.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate was 23.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $488,300. The owner of that home paid $1,162 in municipal taxes.

In 2020, the municipal tax rate is projected to decrease to 23.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home is now assessed at $492,900 and the owner of that home will pay $1,158 in municipal taxes.

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

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

Upper Freehold Township had an estimated population of 7,019 residents as of July 1, 2018, according to www.census.gov

In other business, municipal officials are planning to use storm recovery reserves to pay for expenses related to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

During a recent meeting, Township Committee members authorized the use of storm recovery reserves to help pay for the community’s coronavirus response. Any reimbursement of the expenditures will be deposited back into the reserve fund.

According to a resolution that allowed the governing body to take the action, municipal officials may authorize the use of storm recovery reserve funds for any purpose necessary to protect the safety, security, health and welfare of citizens from damage caused by an emergency that has been declared by the governor or the president.

Because Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in New Jersey in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Upper Freehold Township is authorized to use the storm recovery reserves to respond to the crisis.

Committee members said they believed it was in the best interest of the township to authorize the use of the reserve fund for expenditures incurred in response to the state of emergency.

Storm recovery reserves will be allocated toward extraordinary expenses that resulted from the local response to the pandemic, such as medical supplies, the purchase of equipment to help protect emergency responders and technology equipment that has allowed municipal officials and municipal employees to work remotely.

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