MARLBORO – With a 5-0 vote from members of the Township Council, Marlboro’s municipal budget for 2021 has been put in place.
The $40.58 million budget was adopted on April 22 by Township Council President Jeff Cantor, Vice President Scott Metzger Councilwoman Randi Marder, Councilwoman Carol Mazzola and Councilman Michael Scalea. No one from the public commented on the budget when given the opportunity to do so.
Under Marlboro’s form of government, the administration develops the budget and presents it to the council. The council members review and adopt the spending plan.
The $40.58 million budget that was adopted was unchanged from the document that was introduced on March 4. The spending plan will be supported by the collection of $29.17 million in taxes from Marlboro’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenues will pay for the remaining appropriations, according to municipal officials.
In his budget message, Mayor Jonathan Hornik said, “The theme of my annual budget message and report to the community is ‘Weathering the Storms.’
“Little did any of us know at the beginning of 2020 that we were about to embark on one of the most difficult chapters in modern history and even today, the book is not yet complete.
“The global pandemic that ensued has presented us all with numerous challenges, running the gamut form job losses, to securing groceries and medication, to schooling our children.
“At the township, we have grappled and continue to grapple with every new piece of information about the coronavirus, as well as shifts in public health guidance and executive orders issued by the state.
“There is no blueprint for how to run local government when in-person contact is so severely restricted, let alone manage a public safety operation whose primary purpose is to keep people safe and respond to those in need.
“All the while, we have ensured and continue to ensure that township staff take the necessary precautions and remain healthy so municipal services can be delivered without interruption,” the mayor said.
Hornik said that during 2021, Marlboro’s officials will collect $1.38 million less in local taxes than they are permitted to collect by the state and they will spend $2.1 million less than they are permitted to spend by the state.
Business Administrator Jonathan Capp said the 2021 budget contains a 1.38% increase in appropriations from 2020. He said the state has raised Marlboro’s payment into the pension system by 9% this year.
Capp said the 2021 budget retains all municipal services that were previously provided.
Hornik thanked Capp for putting together what he called a “tight budget.”
In 2020, Marlboro’s budget totaled $40.5 million and was supported by the collection of $28.49 million in taxes from property owners. The budget used $5.3 million from the township’s surplus fund (savings) as revenue.
In 2020, the municipal tax rate was 39.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Marlboro was assessed at $495,093 and the owner of that home paid about $1,945 in municipal taxes (0.393 x 4,950).
In 2021, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 40 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Marlboro is assessed at $494,783 and the owner of that home will pay about $1,979 in municipal taxes (0.4 x 4,947).
Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill. Property owners in Marlboro also pay Marlboro K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, a fire district tax and Monmouth County taxes.
The total amount of property taxes an individual pays is based on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.
In 2021, municipal officials will use $5.6 million from Marlboro’s surplus account as revenue in the budget. Other revenue for 2021 includes the receipt of $2.27 million from the state, which is the same amount the township received in 2020.
Capp said Marlboro has experienced a loss of about $570,000 in commuter parking fees, municipal court operations and investment income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Municipal officials will fund the following selected appropriations in 2021: $9.33 million on police salaries and wages (23% of the budget); $5.14 million in payments to pension systems and Social Security; $3 million for employee group heath insurance; $2 million for road maintenance (includes $1.84 million on salaries and wages, and $202,239 in other expenses); $208,286 for legal services; $337,501 for engineering services and costs; and $60,000 on aid to the township’s volunteer ambulance companies.
After council members voted to adopt the budget, Hornik said, “I want to congratulate everybody involved, Business Administrator Jonathan Capp, Chief Financial Officer Lori Russo, members of the Township Council, and all of our employees and volunteers from top to bottom. You have made this possible and we should all take a moment and be proud.”