Pennington Council adopts $4.49M budget for 2021 municipal operations


Pennington Council members adopted a $4.49 million municipal budget to fund municipal operations in 2021.

The Pennington Council adopted the budget on May 3. Council President Catherine Chandler, Councilwoman Deborah Gnatt, Councilwoman Beverly Mills, Councilwoman Liz Semple, and Councilman Ken Gross voted “yes” to introduce the budget.

Councilman Charles Marciante was the sole vote against budget adoption in the meeting.

“I am going to vote ‘no’ on the budget because I do not believe we should be raising taxes after we did 5% last year and during a pandemic at the worst economic time of our country we are raising taxes,” he said on May 3. “Like I said, if you want to drive older people out of this town and people that educate their children and leave, keep going. You are getting to stress people to a point where this is not fair.”

Pennington’s municipal appropriations are increasing from $3.82 million in 2020 to $4.49 million in the 2021 budget.

The borough’s residential and commercial owners support the municipal appropriations through a tax levy. In 2021, the tax levy is projected to be $2.70 million, an increase from 2020’s $2.57 million.

The 2020 budget totaled $3.82 million. Residential and commercial property owners paid a total tax levy of $2.40 million to support the budget.

The borough’s Chief Financial Officer Sandra Webb informed the Council at the May 3 meeting that Pennington had been notified by the assessor that the borough’s assessed value dropped by $279,000.

“We are going to propose a small amendment to the budget to keep the tax rate at the two cent increase, which would be a $1,369 decrease in the local tax. We are going to use surplus to offset that,” Webb said.

In 2021, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 49 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that is still assessed at $484,000 pays $2,371 in municipal taxes. The municipal tax rate increased by two cents from 47 cents in 2020.

An owner of a home assessed at $484,000 paid $2,274 in 2020 municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes school taxes and Mercer 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, Pennington will use $437,546 from the surplus as revenue in the budget. In the 2020 budget, officials used $366,915 from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget. Other revenues in the 2021 budget include $135,000 in uniform construction code fees, $187,581 in state aid, which is the same amount received in 2020; and $533,499 in public and private revenues.

On the appropriations side of the budget for 2021, the budget will fund appropriations such as $632,000 in police salaries and wages, $235,000 on the payment of bond principal, $182,354 on shared service agreements, $210,000 on employee group health, $114,000 engineering services and costs, and $275,000 roads salary and wages.