Hopewell Borough Council adopts $3.54M budget for municipal operations in 2021


Members of the Hopewell Borough Council adopted a $3.54 million municipal budget to fund the borough’s municipal operations for 2021.

Council President Charles Schuyler Morehouse, Councilman Chris Fossel, Councilman David Mackie and Councilwoman Samara McAuliffe voted “yes” on the budget’s adoption during a virtual council meeting on May 6.

Councilman Ryan Kennedy and Councilwoman Debra Stuhler were absent from the meeting.

“The budget represents a penny tax rate increase from 2020. 2020 was a flat tax rate year, the first one in decades,” Borough Administrator Michele Hovan said during the meeting. “We are using about three pennies in surplus to put this together. We needed to use a little bit of the surplus to keep the tax increase soft. That is the same path we will be on for a little while.”

Hopewell Borough’s municipal appropriations are increasing from $3.33 million in 2020 to $3.54 million in 2021.

“I think it is a good budget and funding our priorities,” Hovan said.

Residential and commercial property owners support the appropriations through a tax levy. The tax levy increases slightly from $2.1 million in 2020 to $2.14 million for 2021 budget.

According to budget documents, the current budget does include a slight increase in the municipal tax rate, which is expected to be 63.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. In 2021, the owner of a home that is still assessed at $400,000 pays $2,556 in municipal taxes.

The 2020 municipal tax rate was 62.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. In 2020, the owner of a home assessed at $400,000 paid $2,516 in 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 side of the 2021 budget, Hopewell Borough will use $393,200 from the surplus as revenue in the budget. In the 2020 budget, officials used $304,578 from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget. Other revenues in the 2021 budget include $325,000 in sewer rents, $170,313 in state aid, which is the same amount received in 2020; and $77,700 in interest on investments and deposits.

Hopewell Borough’s budget covers the cost of general government, public works, salaries and wages, shared service agreements, and insurance.

On the appropriations portion of the budget for 2021, the budget will fund $548,349 in municipal debt service, $526,398 on shared service agreements, $223,400 on administrative and executive wages, $201,000 public works salary and wages, $105,000 on employee group health insurance, and $94,000 sanitation tipping fees (fees for disposal of waste at a landfill).