Holmdel Township Committee introduces $26 million budget for 2021

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HOLMDEL – Members of the Township Committee have introduced a 2021 municipal budget that totals $25.96 million and will be supported by the collection of $14.87 million in taxes from Holmdel’s residential and commercial property owners.

Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber, Committeeman Prakash Santhana, Committeeman Tom Critelli and Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the budget on April 13. A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 11 .

The 2021 budget includes an appropriation from Holmdel’s surplus fund (savings) of $3.57 million to be used as revenue. Revenues from other sources account for the balance of the funds that will be raised to support the spending plan.

Township Administrator Cherron Rountree and Chief Financial Officer Bill Antonides presented the budget to the committee members and residents during a meeting that was held in a virtual manner during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Rountree said 95% of the municipal budget supports what she called “committed spending” (i.e., salaries, insurance) and the remaining 5% is considered discretionary spending.

She said the budget provides funding for the broad categories of public safety; code enforcement; infrastructure; waste removal; community events and programming; and the administration of government.

The largest expense in Holmdel’s budget is salaries and wages for municipal employees, which account for 40% of all spending (approximately $10.4 million).

Holmdel’s 2019 budget totaled $24.24 million and was supported by the collection of $14.52 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners. The municipal tax rate was 34 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $676,993 and the owner of that home paid about $2,301 in municipal taxes.

Holmdel’s 2020 budget totaled $25.08 million and was supported by the collection of $14.63 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners. The municipal tax rate remained at 34 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $686,578 and the owner of that home paid about $2,334 in municipal taxes.

Holmdel’s 2021 budget totals $25.96 million and will be supported by the collection of $14.87 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners. The municipal tax rate is projected to remain at 34 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home is assessed at $700,426 and the owner of that home will pay about $2,381 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Holmdel Township Schools taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

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

Rountree and Antonides said for every $100 in property taxes a property owner pays, $68 goes to the Holmdel school district, $17 goes to the municipality, $12 goes to Monmouth County and $4 goes to the library, the Board of Health and open space purposes.

As outlined in the budget presentation, the administration’s goals for 2021 include preserving land for open space and/or farmland preservation; improving electronic access to documents and files both internally and externally; expanding social media platforms and followers; and adopting a township seal.

Rountree and Antonides offered the following notes about the budget and outlined what they called the “key drivers:”

• Municipal debt service obligations are increasing nearly 7%, more than $220,000;

• Pension contributions are increasing more than 12%, nearly $250,000;

• Social Security contributions are increasing 15%, or $115,000;

• Health insurance premiums increased more than 9%, about $158,000. Rountree and Antonides said that increase would have been far greater if Holmdel did not switch to the state health benefit plan system;

• The proposed budget includes a significant increase in aid to the fire department for contractual and preventive maintenance, repairs, equipment, personal protective equipment, uniforms and training;

• The proposed budget continues to provide $65,000 in aid to the local first aid squad, an amount increased in 2020 due to expenses associated with the pandemic. Officials said the first aid squad continues to have these increased expenses because of the pandemic and therefore the proposed 2021 budget keeps the aid to the first aid squad at the 2020 level.

According to a population estimate from July 2018, Holmdel had 16,662 residents.