Cranbury Township adopts $12.8 million municipal budget for 2022

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The Cranbury Township Committee has unanimously adopted a $12.87 million municipal budget that will fund township operations for 2022.

The budget’s adoption followed a public hearing held by the Township Committee at its March 14 meeting.

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Mayor Barbara Rogers, Deputy Mayor Mike Ferrante, Township Committeewoman Evelyn Spann, Township Committeeman Matt Scott, and Township Committeewoman Eman El-Badawi voted “yes” to adopt the budget.

The municipal tax rate remains flat for the 2022 budget.

In 2022, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 37.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of an average assessed home at $607,380 will pay $2,301 in municipal taxes.

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

Spann asked Township Administrator Denise Marabello about the potential for a tax decrease.

“It depends on how we manage the surplus and whether the assessed value does what is projected. Those are the two things that will drive whether the taxes go up, down or stay stable,” Marabello responded. “At this point we have been keeping it stable and I think that is the fiscally responsible thing to do based on the surplus we have. If for some reason we have another large increase in surplus, we can certainly look at a decrease, but we have to keep in mind assessed value is going to level off.”

Cranbury’s residential and commercial owners support the municipal appropriations through a tax levy and with the 2022 municipal budget at $12.87 million the tax levy is projected to be $7.3 million, a slight increase from 2021’s $7.2 million.

“Our assessed value is starting to level off. Our budget has remained fairly stable always between $11-13 million,” Marabello said. “The amount to be raised by tax has also remained stable.”

Municipal appropriations were $13.5 million in 2021 and are set to be $12.87 million in the 2022 budget.

“If you are looking at the difference between 2021 and 2022 that [operating budget] number looks larger simply because we had a lot of grants that came in during 2021 that were added to our operating budget throughout the year. By the end of 2022, that $12.8 million will also be increased by any grants that we get,” Marabello added.

On the revenues portion of the 2022 budget, Cranbury will use $1.79 million from the surplus as revenue in the budget. In the 2021 budget, officials used $1.535 million from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget.

Other revenues in the 2022 budget include $1.6 million in sewer service fees, $467,020 in state aid, which is the same amount received in 2021; $273,471 in hotel tax, and $212,843 from the American Rescue Plan.

On the appropriations side of the budget for 2022, the budget will fund appropriations such as $2.29 million on police salaries and wages, $1.97 million towards municipal debt service, $576,825 on shared service agreements, $486,937 for sewer salary and wages and other expenses, $250,386 roads salary and wages, $115,000 for capital improvements and $86,064 in aid to the volunteer fire company.

“The total projection of capital projects from 2023-26 is approximately $4.7 million,” Marabello said. “There may be projects that pop up during that time that we may not be aware of now, but there are some stable projects like police SUVs, there may be a fire truck we have to look toward purchasing in 2025, major building repairs, major road repairs, bike network plan, IT upgrades and sewer improvements.”

According to Marabello’s budget presentation, the projected future capital project costs from 2023-26 are expected to be $2.4 million for major road repairs, $1 million for the fire company, $760,000 for police SUVs, $200,000 for major building repairs, $125,000 for IT upgrades, $91,250 for sewer improvements, and $30,500 for pistol replacement.

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