Eatontown Borough Council adopts $28.6M municipal budget for 2021


EATONTOWN – The members of the Borough Council have adopted a $28.66 million budget to fund the operation of Eatontown during 2021.

The budget, which was adopted on June 10, will be supported by the collection of $19.59 million in taxes from Eatontown’s residential and commercial property owners.

Other revenue in the 2021 budget includes the appropriation of $4.5 million from Eatontown’s surplus fund (savings) and the receipt of $1.46 million in state aid.

Council President Kevin Gonzalez and council members Joseph Olsavsky, Mark Regan, Maria Escalante and Danielle Jones voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the 2021 budget.

Councilwoman Jasmine Story voted “no” on the motion.

After the budget was adopted, Story said, “I think council’s approach to the budget has been fiscally irresponsible. Financial decisions are made without looking at the bigger picture.

“For example, council is moving forward with the purchase and construction of a new Department of Public Works building that will cost $16 million while simultaneously eliminating other ratables, preparing to give a tax abatement to the Monmouth Mall owners, and opposing businesses like recreational marijuana dispensaries that could significantly offset these costs.

“The council also has not created any incentives to attract new businesses besides gas stations, convenience stores and public storage facilities. In the end, it’s the residents who will pay,” Story said.

Prior to the adoption of the budget, Mayor Anthony Talerico said, “I think of this budget as a two-year budget, even though it’s not. When (the 2020) budget came along, no one knew what was up (due to the coronavirus pandemic) and we are still in a limbo phase.

“… This budget was fantastic. If we didn’t have a (Department of Public Works) project in it, we would be rock stars. Our municipal staff did a fantastic job in this,” Talerico said.

Eatontown’s 2020 budget totaled $27.7 million and was supported by the collection of $18.5 million in local taxes. Other revenue included the receipt of $1.46 million in state aid and the appropriation of $4 million from the surplus fund.

From 2020 to 2021, appropriations have increased by $962,857 and the local tax levy has increased by $1.09 million.

In 2020, the municipal tax rate was 80.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that was assessed at $372,630 paid about $2,992 in municipal taxes.

In 2021, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 82.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that is still assessed at $372,630, which is this year’s estimated average assessment, will pay about $3,077 in municipal taxes – an increase of $85.

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

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.

Selected appropriations in the 2021 Eatontown budget include the following: public safety, $7.51 million; insurance, $4.4 million; public works, $4.38 million; debt, $2.57 million; statutory expenditures, $2.52 million; general government, $1.9 million; and reserve for uncollected taxes, $1.6 million.

Eatontown has 95 full-time employees, which includes 37 police officers, and 60 part-time employees. Personnel costs will account for $10.87 million of the $28.66 million budget.