Cranbury Township officials fund municipal operations for 2021

ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

The Cranbury Township Committee unanimously adopted a $12.95 million municipal budget to fund the township for 2021.

The adoption of the budget occurred on March 22. Mayor Mike Ferrante, Deputy Mayor Barbara Rogers, Township Committeeman Matt Scott and Township Committeewoman Evelyn Spann voted “yes” on the measure.

Township Committeeman Jay Taylor voted ‘no’ against the budget’s adoption.

“Why I voted no on the budget was I did not feel we were following sound sound principles. We are getting close to 400K from the federal stimulus,” Taylor said. “Our surplus is close to and projects to be over 60% of our operating budget. Just as a town can have too little surplus they can also have too much. We must balance the financials so that we maintain the AAA bind rating.”

Municipal appropriations are decreasing from $14.38 million in 2020 to $12.95 million in the 2021 budget.

Cranbury’s residential and commercial owners support the municipal appropriations through a tax levy. In 2021, the tax levy is projected to be $7.27 million, an increase from 2020’s $6.98 million.

The 2020 budget totaled $14.38 million. Residential and commercial property owners paid a total tax levy of $6.98 million to support the budget.

In 2021, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 37.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home who is still assessed at $605,000 pays $2,292 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes school taxes and Middlesex County taxes.

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

On the revenues portion of the 2021 budget, Cranbury will use $1.535 million from the surplus as revenue in the budget. In the 2020 budget, officials used $3.22 million from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget.

Other revenues in the 2021 budget include $1.56 million in sewer service fees, $467,020 in state aid, which is the same amount received in 2020; and $345,045 in public and private revenues.

On the appropriations side of the budget for 2021, the budget will fund appropriations such as $2.52 million on police salaries and wages, $1.12 million on shared service agreements, $781,245 on employee group health, $485,040 for sewer salary and wages and other expenses, $242,528 roads salary and wages, and $106,064 in aid to the volunteer fire company.

Cranbury’s municipal debt service decreases from $1.96 million in 2020 to $1.77 million in 2021. The township’s shared services agreements also decreased from $1.27 million in 2020 to $1.12 million in 2021.

Cranbury Township’s budget covers the cost of providing law enforcement through the police department, first aid, shared service agreements such as sewer maintenance and municipal court, road and vehicle maintenance, and maintenance for township parks.