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Hightstown Borough Council adopts 2022 budget with $132 municipal tax increase

The Hightstown Borough Council unanimously adopted its $8.2 million municipal budget for 2022.

A public hearing on the budget was held at its Aug. 15 meeting.

The budget increases the municipal property tax rate from $1.41 per $100 of assessed value to $1.47.

The six-cent increase means the owner of a house assessed at $225,000 will pay $3,306 in municipal property taxes for 2022, which is an increase of $132 over the 2021 municipal property tax bill of $3,174, officials said.

The municipal property tax is one component of a property owner’s total tax bill. The property tax includes funding for the East Windsor Regional School District and Mercer County.

The municipal budget for 2022 increased by $97,601 over the 2021 municipal budget of $8.1 million. The amount to be raised by taxes to support the spending plan increased by $234,299, from $5,587,207 in 2021 to $5,821,506 this year.

Miscellaneous revenues will generate an additional $1.4 million. It includes $7,500 for liquor licenses; $12,000 for other licenses; $20,600 for fees and permits; and $175,000 in municipal court costs and fines.

The revenues also include $529,817 in state aid; assorted grants; and the annual $23,000 gift from The Peddie School.

As well as $820,000 in surplus funds as a source of revenue.

On the expense side of the budget, the Public Safety Department makes up the single largest budgetary line item and the budget earmarked $1.9 million for the Hightstown Borough Police Department for salaries and wages and other expenses.

The budget includes $520,000 for the reserve for uncollected taxes. The borough’s tax collection rate for 2021 was 97.2%.

The reserve for uncollected taxes is needed to ensure that the school district, the county and the town receive the property taxes that each one levies to support their respective budgets, officials said.

Hightstown Borough serves as the tax collector for property taxes for the East Windsor Regional School District and Mercer County government. The borough is obligated to pay out what is owed to the school district and the county first, and then “pays” itself.

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