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Hopewell Borough adopts $3.99 million municipal budget with tax rate increase

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Hopewell Borough property owners will see a tax rate increase after the Borough Council unanimously voted to adopt a $3.99 million municipal budget to fund borough operations in 2022.

Council President Sky Morehouse, Councilman Ryan Kennedy, Councilwoman Debra Stuhler, Councilman Chris Fossel, and Councilwoman Samara McAuliffe voted “yes” to adopt the municipal budget at a council meeting on May 5.

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“There is no new money being spent here. We are paying for prior obligations such as the appropriations for Tropical Storm Ida in 2021,” Borough Administrator Michele Hovan said.

“We are funding about $143,000 of [Superstorm] Ida costs in this budget. Everything else is really good. Our fund balance is very strong and our collection rate is very strong.”

She added that the borough’s debt is organized and payment schedules are realistic.

“We have not cut anything. We have not underfunded or reduced our services or adjusted our priorities,” Hovan said. “It is a very keeping-pace budget.”

Hopewell Borough’s municipal appropriations are increasing from $3.54 million in 2021 to $3.99 million in 2022.

Residential and commercial property owners support the appropriations through a tax levy. The tax levy increases from $2.14 million in 2021 to $2.29 million for 2022 budget.

According to budget documents, the adopted budget includes a 4.5-cent increase in the municipal tax rate, which is expected to be 68.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

In 2022, the owner of an average assessed home at $407,700 would pay $2,788 in municipal taxes.

The 2021 municipal tax rate was 63.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. In 2021, the owner of an average assessed home at $407,700 paid $2,605 in municipal taxes.

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

On the revenue side of the 2022 budget, Hopewell Borough will use $541,500 from the surplus as revenue in the budget, which is increased from the 2021 budget. In the 2021 budget, officials used $393,200 from the surplus funds as revenue in the budget.

Other revenues in the 2022 budget include $331,000 in sewer rents; $170,313 in state aid, which is the same amount received in 2021; $199,498 from the American Rescue Plan; $45,000 in interest on investments and deposits; and $12,000 from fees and permits.

Hopewell Borough’s budget covers the cost of general government, public works, salaries and wages, shared service agreements, and insurance.

On the appropriations portion of the budget for 2022, the budget will fund $689,232 in municipal debt service, $562,563 on shared service agreements, $531,920 on payment of bond principal, $240,435 to the Stoney Brook Regional Sewerage Authority, $225,000 on administrative and executive wages.

Additional appropriations are $209,500 on public works salary and wages, $119,395 towards maintenance of free library, $106,500 on employee group health insurance, $99,800 for garbage and trash removal and $96,000 in sanitation tipping fees (fees for disposal of waste at a landfill).

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