North Brunswick taxpayers to see $61 increase on average in municipal taxes

NORTH BRUNSWICK – The 2.7% municipal tax increase for calendar year 2020 is a “stable and predictable trend” according to North Brunswick Business Administrator Justine Progebin.

The $50.95 million budget was adopted on Sept. 8 during the North Brunswick Township Council meeting.

The $1.337 municipal tax rate per $100 of assessed valuation on a home assessed at the township average of $158,520 translates into a 3.5 cent increase in municipal taxes, or roughly $61.23 additional for municipal services.

Progebin said municipal taxes account for 23% of the total taxes a property owner pays. The tax bill also includes school, county and library taxes.

She said the total tax rate is $5.79 per $100 of assessed valuation. 

She said the figures do not include fire and first aid services, which are included in the municipal levy; or any volunteer services.

For Fiscal Year 2021, there is a decrease in surplus of $320,000, an increase in revenue of $188,000, but a decrease in grant funding.

There has been a declining use of surplus, which was 14% in 2011, but has stabilized at 7%, Progebin said.

Salaries and wages are down $126,000. There are now 194 employees, down four from the prior year; compared to 230 about 10 years ago, Progebin said. General government positions are down by two, and Community Development and the Department of Public Works each lost one employee.

Grants are down $198,000, capital funds are down $270,000, debt is up $183,000, reserves are up $10,000 and operations is up $1.268 million.

The total appropriations are up almost $867,000.

For the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, the total revenue was $51.69 million, which was roughly $1.2 million over the anticipated value.

In the Finance Department, two full-time employees were reduced to one, the township audit came back clean with no recommendations, Standard & Poor’s rated the township AA+ with a positive outlook, the number of tax appeals declined, no cash refunds were given, and the ratable base increased BY $19 million.

In the Department of Community Development, Andre Alexeev was named the new zoning officer after Mike Proietti retired; Lidl, Wawa and the soon-to-be-completed Amaranth age-restricted housing complex are in town; and funding was secured for road projects on Finnegans Lane, Quarry Lane and Raider Road.

In the Department of Public Works, a dual port charging station will accommodate two new Nissan electric vehicles.

In the Police Department, a $2 million radio project through Middlesex County will join police, fire, EMS, the Office of Emergency Management and the DPW on one complete communication cycle by year’s end.

In the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, activities and programs were held in the wake of COVID-19.

Aside from dealing with the novel coronavirus and Tropical Storm Isaias, the township also lost three prominent figures in the past 10 months: former mayor Sal Paladino, Councilman Bob Corbin and most recently, Police Director Ken McCormick.

The township also faced issues stemming from its water meter replacement project, and bringing billing in house.

Looking forward to next year, Community Development is on the road to repaving Livingston Avenue from Nassau Street to Cox Road; will continue construction on Amaranth; and will accept payments online or via a dropbox at the municipal building.

DPW will purchase forestry equipment and two automated refuse trucks. The Mile Run and Maple Meade interceptor projects will begin.

Officials said the Board of Education and the township are working collaboratively to offer preschool to all, and to make a site for a playground at the former Nob Valley site; the township purchased the property at 46 Old Georges Road and will plan for a preschool, summer camp, spray park, pavilion, playground and walking trail.

A meeting in August discussed the final steps of a train station in town, and Progebin said an announcement should be made soon.

A new township website that will include an updated water utility page, allow for the electronic submission of documents and collect online payments should be launched in the coming weeks.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com