Allentown council awards contract for next phase of streetscape upgrades

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ALLENTOWN — The members of the Allentown Borough Council have awarded a contract in the amount of $846,150 to Byrd Dog Paving for the Historic Streetscape Phase IIB project.

During a meeting on March 22, Borough Council President John A. Elder III, Councilman Dan Payson, Councilwoman Nikki Darling, Councilwoman Martha Johnson and Councilwoman Erica DeKranes voted “yes” on a motion to award the contract to Byrd Dog Paving.

Councilman Michael Drennan was absent from the meeting.

Borough Administrator and Municipal Clerk Laurie Roth said Allentown has been awarded an $854,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant through the New Jersey Department of Transportation for streetscape improvements on Church Street and on North Main Street.

“The improvements will include new curbs and sidewalks on the entire length of Church Street between the intersection with Main Street and the borough limits to the west.

“The commercial district nearest to Main Street will include brick paver sidewalk to match the design of the prior South Main Street improvements in 2016.

“North Main Street will include new curbs and sidewalks from the intersection with Waker Avenue to a point approximately 500 feet north.

“Additionally, decorative street lighting will be installed within the commercial area and new trees will be planted throughout the project area in consultation with Monmouth County and with the borough’s Shade Tree Commission,” Roth told the Examiner.

In other business during the meeting, Chief Financial Officer June Madden presented a preliminary look at the borough’s 2022 budget.

Madden said total appropriations will amount to $2.87 million and will be supported through a tax levy of $1.72 million to be paid by Allentown’s commercial and residential property owners.

Other revenue in the 2022 budget will include a $470,000 appropriation from Allentown’s surplus fund (savings) and the receipt of $131,000 in state aid.

Allentown’s 2021 budget totaled $3.13 million and was supported through the collection of a $1.68 million tax levy. From 2021 to 2022, total appropriations have decreased by $260,000, while the tax levy has increased by $40,000.

Madden said for 2022, police salaries and wages are increasing by $25,000 and garbage collection costs are increasing by $10,000.

She said the owner of a home that is assessed at the borough average of $293,116 will see an increase of about $66 in municipal taxes this year.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes taxes paid to Monmouth County and to the Upper Freehold Regional School District.

Allentown property owners also pay an open space tax which is expected to generate $87,180 in 2022, according to Madden. The owner of a home assessed at the borough average will pay about $132 in open space taxes in 2022.

The amount of taxes a property owner pays is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property, and the tax rate that is established by each taxing entity.

Madden said the municipal budget is expected to be introduced on April 12 and adopted following a public hearing on May 10.

Following Madden’s presentation, Mayor Thomas Fritts said, “Proper planning is something we pride ourselves on. I think we have done a good job managing the budget.”