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Marlboro council introduces $42M municipal budget for 2022

MARLBORO – The members of the Marlboro Township Council have introduced a $42.52 million budget to fund the operation of the municipality during 2022.

The budget was introduced during the council’s March 24 meeting. Voting “yes” on a motion to introduce the budget were Township Council Vice President Antoinette DiNuzzo, Councilwoman Randi Marder, Councilman Michael Milman and Councilman Michael Scalea.

Council President Juned Qazi was absent from the meeting.

A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for 7 p.m. May 19.

Under Marlboro’s form of government, the administration develops the budget and presents it to the council. The council members review and adopt the spending plan.

In 2020, Marlboro’s budget totaled $40.5 million and was supported by the collection of $28.49 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners. The municipal tax rate was 39.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $495,093 and the owner of that home paid about $1,945 in municipal taxes.

In 2021, Marlboro’s 2021 budget totaled $40.58 million and was supported by the collection of $29.17 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners. The municipal tax rate was 40 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $494,783 and the owner of that home paid about $1,979 in municipal taxes.

In 2022, the proposed $42.52 million budget will be supported by a $29.87 million tax levy to be paid by Marlboro’s commercial and residential property owners. The municipal tax rate is projected to be 40.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, according to Business Administrator Jonathan Capp.

Capp said the average home in Marlboro is now preliminarily assessed at $495,437, which would result in the owner of that home paying about $2,026 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill. Property owners in Marlboro also pay Marlboro K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, a fire district tax and Monmouth County taxes.

The total amount of property taxes an individual pays is based on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

In 2021, municipal officials used $5.6 million from Marlboro’s surplus account as revenue in the budget. Other revenue for 2021 included the receipt of $2.27 million from the state, which was the same amount the township received in 2020.

In 2022, municipal officials are proposing to use $5.9 million from Marlboro’s surplus account as revenue in the budget. Other revenue for 2022 will include the receipt of $2.27 million from the state, which is the same amount the township received in 2021, according to Capp.

In his annual budget message, Mayor Jonathan Hornik said, in part, “My message is the same as in years past, that together, we will continue to ‘weather the storms.’ Incidentally, ‘storms’ are now a metaphor for just about every crisis we can imagine and beyond, from hurricanes to extreme rainfall, multi-day snow events to pandemics.

“For 2022, we present another budget plan that maintains service levels and ensures the safety and well-being of our great community. … As reported last year, the township absorbed expenditures related to the (coronavirus) pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The 2022 budget plan also provides for continued pandemic-related spending totaling approximately $176,285.

“On the revenue side, the township has now experienced consecutive years of revenue loss totaling more than $1.2 million related to commuter parking, court operations and investment income – a direct result of the pandemic – which negatively impacted the 2020 and 2021 bottom lines. Based upon current trends, it is expected that revenue losses in
these three areas will continue in 2022.

“The township has received approximately $2 million in federal pandemic aid (from the Local Fiscal Recovery Act of 2021) which is used in this 2022 budget to ‘make the township

“In accordance with federal and state guidance, this funding will be used to replace
revenue lost directly as a result of the pandemic so taxpayers do not have to make up the
difference. This will ensure we retain our strong financial footing,” said Hornik, who took office in 2008.

The mayor went on to say, “We recognize that the preservation of open space and improvements to our recreational areas are critical to maintaining the quality of life we enjoy in this town, and this will remain a top priority in 2022.

“A strong and stable financial footing is critical to maintaining Marlboro’s status as one of the premier suburban communities in New Jersey. I am pleased to report that Marlboro’s financial position remains strong, even in the midst of the most significant financial crisis since the Great Depression. … The result is the lowest cost of borrowing available
resulting in significant taxpayer savings for critical road, drainage, park and other capital

“As I have explained before, all towns in New Jersey are ‘creatures of the state,’ subject to its regulations, mandates and to paying the bills it sends down to the local level. Since 2007, costs for items required or established by the state have increased by approximately $4.3 million or 78.80%.

“Budget appropriation items set at the local level have increased by only 19.09% since 2007, despite the budget pressures we have faced associated with the pandemic and response to extreme weather events,” Hornik said.

“In summary, the 2022 budgeted appropriations result in an overall increase in appropriations of $1.9 million or 4.78%, inclusive of the one-time emergency appropriation for recreation programming during the pandemic. This translates into an increase to the average assessed household of about $12 per quarter or approximately 2.3%.

“We eagerly await Monmouth County’s improvements at the intersection of Wyncrest
Route and Route 520 which will include the addition of a dedicated turn lane.

“As soon as the redesign of the county-owned drainage culverts adjacent to Station Road has been completed and permitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the township will be able to complete the long-awaited reconstruction of the road.

“Route 79 is a state highway, but an important corridor through our community. At our urging, beginning this year, the state will repave the highway and make improvements to numerous intersections in Marlboro, including a combination of Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades, traffic striping and signal modifications as warranted at School Road, Wyncrest Road, Tennent Road, Route 520, Ryan Road and Lloyd Road.

“We have successfully petitioned the New Jersey Department of Transportation for two additional traffic lights on Route 79 to ensure the safe and efficient passage of motorists,
pedestrians and bicyclists. And we also continue our work on the Route 79 sidewalk project that will make Route 79 walkable between Route 520 and Wyncrest Road at the Henry Hudson Trail,” Hornik said.

“We are looking forward to hundreds of additional acres of open space in Marlboro at the site of the former state hospital property. The state is in the final stages of remediating the property – a hidden jewel within our community – and anticipates completing a related water and sewer project in the areas of Conover and Pleasant Valley roads.

“Maintaining a safe and supportive community begins with protecting our kids while they are receiving an education. In addition to our commitment to supply School Resource Officers (SROs) to the schools, this 2022 budget proposal once again fully funds the
township’s share of the School Security Officer (SSO) program. Police officers continue to be present in our schools to ensure our kids remain safe.

“Burglaries and car thefts have plagued suburban towns across the state for some time, and cooperation between our police force and regular citizens has resulted in numerous arrests.

“That said, we must all remain vigilant and take simple steps such as locking our personal vehicles to ensure the continued well-being of our community and safety of our residents,” Hornik said.

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