NORTH BRUNSWICK – Taxpayers in North Brunswick will not see their municipal property tax rise for Fiscal Year 2022, as officials kept the municipal tax rate increase at zero as they deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business Administrator Justine Progebin said the Middlesex County and library tax levies have increased, but she said the municipal tax contains no increase. She said fire and EMS taxes are not separate in North Brunswick.
For the Fiscal Year 2022 municipal budget (July. 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022), total appropriations are $52.9 million, a $234,000 increase, which is a less than a 1% net increase over the prior fiscal year, Progebin said.
The breakdown of taxes is as follows:
• The municipal tax levy is $33,981,375. The municipal tax rate is $1.337 per $100 of assessed valuation.
• The school tax levy is $91,701,700. The school tax rate is $3.61 per $100 of assessed valuation.
• The municipal open space tax levy is $762,073. The municipal open space tax rate is 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
• The Middlesex County tax levy is $19,258,153. The Middlesex County tax rate is 75.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
• The Middlesex County open space tax levy is $1,584,190. The Middlesex County tax rate is 6.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
• The library tax levy is $1,729,910. The library tax rate is 6.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
• The total tax levy for North Brunswick property owners, including debt service, is $149,017,403. The total tax rate is $5.867 per $100 of assessed valuation.
The owner of a home assessed at the North Brunswick average of $160,498 will pay about $9,410 in property taxes for the year (1,604 x $5.867).
From the total tax of $9,410, municipal taxes are approximately $2,145 (1,604 x $1.337).
That is in comparison to last year, when the total tax rate was $5.785 per $100 of assessed valuation ($9,280); with a municipal tax rate of $1.337 per $100 of assessed valuation (municipal taxes of $2,145) – the same as Fiscal Year 2022.
“The municipal levy and school levy collectively make up about 85% of the property tax bill. Elected board and municipal officials worked together this year to deliver a 0-cent tax increase to the residents as we recover from the financial impacts of COVID,” Progebin said.
“The increase of less than $200 over the 2020 (calendar year) rate is due to increases in the county and library levies,” Progebin said of the overall increase in taxes.
For Fiscal Year 2022, North Brunswick officials shifted appropriations from the COVID-19 funds from surplus to grants.
Overall, the use of surplus decreased from 15% in 2009 to about 6% to 7% for 2022, which is “desirable,” Progebin said. That allows the township to maintain 10% in the fund balance, making a stable tax rate every year, and allowing for favorable bonds and notes, she said.
Revenue is down $590,000. The anticipated revenue will stabilize when times are similar to the pre-COVID era, Progebin said.
Salary and wages are down $413,000. Progebin said there are 187 municipal employees, which is seven less than the prior year. By comparison, there were 240 municipal employees 10 years ago.
She said the initiative from 2016 to raise the minimum wage to $15 has North Brunswick offering $20 per hour for entry level positions and $25 per hour for other positions.
She also noted the rising cost for sanitation and disposal, but said North Brunswick is continuing to provide services in-house, while neighboring towns have outsourced those services.
Last year, regarding the Finance Department, Cavel Gallimore received her certification as the permanent chief financial officer for the township, three employees were hired for water services, Standard & Poor rated North Brunswick AA+ with a positive outlook, and the number of tax appeals continue to decline.
Through the Department of Community Development, North Brunswick received a new local Freight Impact Fund for Finnegans Lane from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Transportation Trust Fund, plus funding for Corporate Road, Ridgewood Avenue and Evelyn Avenue projects.
The township will continue to improve bicycle lanes, water and sewer, the Adams Lane bridge project and a warehouse on Route 130.
The police department has 83 sworn officers and nine full-time civilian support staff. The township remains accredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.