Manalapan governing body adopts $34.9M budget for 2020

MANALAPAN – The Township Committee has adopted a $34.91 million budget to fund the operation of Manalapan during 2020.

The budget was adopted during a meeting on June 10. Mayor Jack McNaboe, Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen, Committeeman Eric Nelson, Committeeman Barry Jacobson and Committeewoman Mary Ann Musich voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget.

Township Administrator Tara Lovrich said Manalapan’s chief financial officer, Tricia Addario, “has done a phenomenal job with the budget. We have never seen anything like this (year) in our careers. I think we have a great budget.”

Lovrich said municipal officials are hoping to have local expenses that were incurred as a result of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic reimbursed through the federal CARES Act.

The township’s auditor, Robert Oliwa, said several line items of revenue have been reduced because of the pandemic, including interest to be earned, grants to be received and municipal court fees to be collected.

Oliwa said a $581,000 increase in the municipal tax levy would offset the projected revenue losses.

Addario said the Manalapan’s revenues “will be monitored every month” and she said some appropriations could be cancelled if that becomes necessary during the remainder of the year.

“I want to thank all of our department heads for keeping spending to a minimum and I want to thank Ms. Lovrich and Ms. Addario for their work on the budget,” Cohen said.

“We will be monitoring the budget constantly this year,” McNaboe said.

According to the 2020 budget document posted on the township’s website, the $34.91 million budget will be supported be the collection of $23.54 million in taxes from Manalapan’s residential and commercial property owners; the receipt of $3.87 million in state aid; and the appropriation of $3.5 million from the township’s surplus fund (savings).

Manalapan’s 2019 budget totaled $34.49 million and was supported by a tax levy of $22.96 million; the receipt of $3.87 million in state aid; and the appropriation of $3.5 million from the surplus fund.

In 2019, the average home in Manalapan was assessed at $448,180, the municipal tax rate was 33.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the owner of that home paid $1,483 in municipal taxes.

In 2020, the average home in Manalapan is assessed at $453,733, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 33.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the other of that home will pay $1,515 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and a fire district tax.

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

Lovrich said for every $1 in taxes a Manalapan property owner pays, 16% (i.e., 16 cents) goes to the township, 15% (15 cents) goes to Monmouth County, 46% (46 cents) goes to the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District, 20% (20 cents) goes to the Freehold Regional High School District, 2% (2 cents) goes to a municipal fire district and 1% (1 cent) goes to other assessments.

The largest single appropriation in the 2020 budget is for salaries and wages for employees in the Manalapan Police Department, at $7.6 million. The appropriation for other police expenses is $300,316.

Insurance includes the following appropriations: employee group health insurance, $3.36 million; and general liability insurance, $575,392.

Under the category of public works, streets and roads, salaries and wages have an appropriation of $1.7 million and other expenses of $209,500 for 2020.

Under sanitation, solid waste collection, the appropriation is $1.84 million. Garbage collection is provided by the township and the cost is included in a property owner’s municipal taxes.

Manalapan’s 2020 budget includes a payment of $666,227 to the Public Employees Retirement System; a payment of $1.95 million to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey; a payment of $940,000 to Social Security; a payment of $1.2 million in bond principal; and a payment of $606,450 in interest on bonds.