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Allentown Borough Council adopts 2022 municipal budget

ALLENTOWN — The members of the Allentown Borough Council have adopted a $2.87 million budget that will fund the operation of the municipality during 2022.

Allentown’s residential and commercial property owners will pay a tax levy of $1.72 million to support municipal operations. Other revenue will include a $470,000 appropriation from Allentown’s surplus fund (savings), miscellaneous revenues of $593,000 and the receipt of $131,000 in state aid.

The budget was adopted during the council’s May 10 meeting.

Voting “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget were Borough Council President John A. Elder III, Councilman Michael Drennan, Councilman Dan Payson, Councilwoman Martha Johnson, Councilwoman Nikki Darling and Councilwoman Erica DeKranes.

Drennan thanked Chief Financial Officer June Madden for her work on the budget. He said when the 2022 budget was in its initial stage of development, officials were facing an increase of 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in the municipal tax rate.

Drennan said that during the development of the spending plan over a period of several months, the change in the tax rate for 2022 was reduced to an increase of 2.3 cents.

Mayor Thomas Fritts, who does not vote on the budget, said this year’s spending plan “maintains the services residents are used to.”

No one from the public commented on the budget when given the opportunity to do so.

Allentown’s 2022 budget includes the following appropriations: salaries and wages, $1.07 million (up from $1 million in 2021); debt service, $216,189 (up from $204,600 in 2021); capital improvements, $0 (down from $375,000 in 2021); and other expenses, $1.14 million (up from $1.13 million in 2021).

The borough has 32 employees in 2022; the same number of employees as in 2021.

Allentown’s 2021 budget totaled $3.16 million and was supported through the collection of a $1.68 million tax levy. Other revenues included $444,500 appropriated from the surplus fund and miscellaneous revenues of $972,000.

Municipal officials said the 2021 budget included a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant that was included in miscellaneous revenues. The DOT grant is not in the 2022 budget.

From 2021 to 2022, total appropriations have decreased by $290,000 and the tax levy has increased by $40,000.

During a recent presentation, Madden said that in 2022, police salaries and wages are increasing by $25,000 and garbage collection costs are increasing by $10,000.

In 2021, the municipal tax rate was 86.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Allentown was assessed at $292,860. The owner of that home paid about $2,544 in municipal taxes.

In 2022, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 89.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Allentown is now assessed at $293,116. The owner of that home will pay about $2,614 in municipal taxes, according to Madden.

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.

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