Matawan council members adopt $13.7M municipal budget


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MATAWAN – The members of the Matawan Borough Council have adopted a $13.71 million municipal budget which will fund the services and operations of the municipality during 2021.

Business Administrator Scott Carew said the total appropriations for 2021 represents an increase of $294,138 from the total appropriations in 2020.

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The 2021 budget will be supported in part by the collection of $9.33 million in a local tax levy from Matawan’s commercial and residential property owners. Municipal officials will appropriate $1.5 million from the surplus fund (savings) to be used as revenue in the budget.

In 2020, Matawan’s municipal tax rate was 78 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at the borough average of $356,000 paid about $2,777 in municipal taxes.

Carew said that for 2021, the municipal tax rate is expected to remain stable at 78 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that is still assessed at $356,000 would continue to pay $2,777 in municipal taxes.

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

“I am pleased with what the Finance Committee and the borough’s staff and professionals accomplished with this budget. It allows us to keep taxes stable while continuing with our efforts to restore Matawan. The hard work and dedication from everyone involved is greatly appreciated,” Borough Council President John Lazar said.

Lazar chairs the Finance Committee.

Carew said Matawan will receive $1.45 million in state aid for 2021, which is the same amount the borough received in 2020. Officials do not anticipate any money from the American Rescue Plan in the 2021 budget.

“All of the borough’s discretionary spending stayed level or had a de minimis increase or decrease,” Carew said. “Probably the largest change on a percentage basis was an increase in pension and Social Security costs, [which is] something we have no control over. The total increase for those items was $173,786, or 15.6% over 2020. That increase represents nearly 60% of our total general appropriations increase.”

Carew said the majority of the increases in the 2021 budget were non-discretionary increases from the state and from contracts.

“There is no increase for the average assessed home with this budget, but homes in Matawan have increased in value over the past year. Beyond the non-discretionary cost increases, the most significant budgetary issue we have is the loss of non-tax revenue as a result of the pandemic,” Carew said.

“The borough is likely going to continue to reorganize the staffing structure in order to provide more effective and cost-efficient service to the community. This budget will help us achieve that objective,” he said.

Capital improvements in 2021 will include the continued rehabilitation of the Burrowes mansion, phase three of the Gravelly Brook Park improvements, the continuation of the borough’s road improvement program, and water and sewer utility work, Carew said.

Commenting on the budget, Mayor Joseph Altomonte said, “It has been the focus of this team to restore Matawan and this budget reflects that.

“We will continue to improve the borough’s facilities and infrastructure and address some status quo issues that impeded cost-effective delivery of services.

“This budget demonstrates a responsible and sustainable approach to budgeting that was reflected in Moody’s outlook on Matawan’s finances last year,” the mayor said.

In addition to the $9.33 million tax levy Matawan’s property owners will pay this year to fund the municipal budget, property owners as a whole will pay an additional $392,326 in a library tax during 2021.

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