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Monroe maintains services with adoption of 2022 municipal budget

MONROE – Monroe Township’s 2022 municipal budget maintains services and keeps the tax rate flat for property owners in the township.

The Township Council adopted the $66.99 million spending plan earlier this month on June 1. The budget was introduced on May 2.

Council President Miriam Cohen, Vice Council President Terence Van Dzura, Ward 1 Councilwoman Elizabeth Schneider and Ward 2 Councilwoman Rupa Siegel voted “yes” to adopt the 2022 budget.

Ward 3 Councilman Charles Dipierro was the sole dissenting vote.

“I am very pleased that we are able to have a budget with no tax increase. Our residents, the volume has increased yet our services were never cut, so I think that is plus for our employees,” Schneider said at the meeting. “No tax increase in two years, our services are not being decreased and I think that is why people are moving in.

“Naturally people will see a little more increase in salary, but some of our employees are doing two jobs. They are wearing two hats, so I think they deserve an increase a little more than 2%. I personally think this is a good budget for these times,” she said.

The municipal tax rate remains flat at 48.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of an averaged assessed home at $331,952 in the township will continue to pay $1,623 in 2022.

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 or her home and/or property, and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

The township is set to collect $40.36 million from residential and commercial property owners to support the municipal budget.

In 2021, the budget was $66.4 million, which included a $39.72 million tax levy.

The total budget for 2022 has increased by $587,215 from 2021.

On the revenues portion of the 2022 budget, Monroe will use $9.9 million from the surplus as revenue in the budget. In the 2021 budget, officials used the same amount from the surplus funds.

Other revenues in the 2022 budget include $2.26 million in state aid – same amount was received in 2021; $2.1 million in uniform construction code fees; $2 million in ambulance fees; $1.9 million from utility operating surplus of prior year; $500,000 in interest and costs on taxes and $175,000 from fees and permits.

On the appropriations side of the budget for 2022, the budget will fund $6.25 million on debt service. The appropriation towards debt service decreases by $635,354 from last year’s budget at $6.88 million.

Additional appropriations include $11.2 million for police salary and wages; $4.1 million for maintenance of the free public library; $3.88 million for payment of bond principal; $1.6 million for utilities and bulk purchases; $1.14 million for Division of Recreation salary and wages; $800,982 towards shared service agreements and $270,000 for capital improvements.

Business Administrator Alan Weinberg said the increases in salary and wages were due to the addition of new positions and the refilling of others.

“Obviously our other expenses went down a little bit. The other reason the budget went up is we brought camp back, which is going to be at a much more robust level as well,” he said at the meeting. “So it is about a $1.5 million increase [for salary and wages].”

Weinberg noted other appropriations are going down including debt service.

“All in all, we are up about $700,000 (in additional ratable base) as I mentioned earlier, which is handled by the expansion of ratables,” he said.

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