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Freehold Township officials adopt $43M municipal budget for 2021

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Township Committee has adopted a $43 million budget to fund the operation of Freehold Township this year.

The budget, which was adopted on May 11, will be supported by the collection of $23 million in taxes from Freehold Township’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenue includes the appropriation of $7.55 million from the township’s surplus fund (savings) and the receipt of $7.44 million in state aid.

Freehold Township’s 2020 budget totaled $42.6 million and was supported by the collection of $22.6 million in taxes from property owners. Other revenue included the receipt of $7.44 million in state aid; an amount which officials said has been flat for nine years.

From 2020 to 2021, appropriations have increased by $374,023 and the tax levy has increased by $475,364.

In 2020, the municipal tax rate was 33.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Freehold Township was assessed at $426,190 and the owner of that home paid $1,432 in municipal taxes (0.336 x 4,261).

In 2021, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 33.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home assessment is now estimated to be $444,219. The owner of that home will pay $1,488 in municipal taxes (0.335 x 4,442).

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the annual tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Freehold Township K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, Monmouth County taxes and a fire district tax.

According to a presentation provided by municipal officials, Freehold Township’s municipal budget accounts for 15.6% of a property owner’s total tax bill; K-8 school taxes account for 49.8% of the total bill; regional high school district taxes account for 19.3% of the total bill; Monmouth County taxes account for 13% of the total bill; the municipal open space tax accounts for 1.4% and the fire district tax accounts for 0.9%.

Selected appropriations in the 2021 municipal budget include the following line items: public safety and police, $10.4 million; insurance and group benefits, $7.45 million; debt payment and service, $5.14 million; pensions, FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) and Medicare, $4.52 million; public works and infrastructure, $4.19 million; reserve for uncollected taxes, $2 million; government and policy, $1.3 million; utilities, $1.12 million; aid to schools and condominiums, $1 million; and financial and revenue administration; $1 million.

“Freehold Township’s 2021 municipal budget was structured to allow for the recovery from the loss of revenue in 2020 and to maintain our services in a consistent manner that we maintained through the (coronavirus) pandemic,” Mayor Thomas Cook said.

“Freehold Township trimmed costs in 2020, which allowed us to stay on track despite the revenue loss.

“We await federal guidance on the use of stimulus funds and anticipate the state’s distribution of those funds. The 2021 (municipal) budget did not take any of that funding into consideration,” Cook said.

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