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Cranbury expects tax rate to remain flat for 2023

Cranbury Township officials have agreed to keep the tax rate stable for property owners in 2023.

“We are still able to keep the tax rate flat. You do have the ability to use more surplus to keep the tax rate flat and increase your expenses for capital projects,” Township Administrator Denise Marabello said to the Cranbury Township Committee at a budget meeting on Jan. 21.

The Committee has been able to keep the tax rate stable since 2020 after the governing body approved a tax decrease in the 2019 municipal budget.

In 2022, the municipal tax rate was $0.345 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, according to 2022 municipal budget documents. The owner of an average assessed home at $607,380 paid $2,095 in municipal taxes.

Marabello said information will be available on the 2023 tax rate when the township introduces the budget on Feb. 13

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

During budget discussions, the governing body approved a proposal to put $1 million from operating expenses into capital projects “to offset going to the short-term bond market and offset future township obligations,” Mayor Mike Ferrante said.

“It would basically cover the road projects we have planned for this year.”

Marabello said she will use $2.28 million of surplus for 2023 in order to keep the tax rate stable and have $1 million for capital projects.

“Right now, it looks like my capital ordinance would be about $1.6 million, $1.7 million. So, if we put $1 million, then I would only have to fund $600,000 or $700,000,” she said. “Our current surplus right now is $8.3 million.”

Marabello informed the Township Committee and public that the township has been replenishing the surplus they are using and that if more funds are to be used from surplus it should be a year-by-year case.

“If we were not replenishing what we were using, we start drawing down on what we have and eventually run out,” she said. “Then what do you do? Not only increase taxes but increase them by more than you are permitted to do so by state law.

“But looking at the numbers and the estimated assessed value [of] the added assessments from the tax assessor, things look healthy for the next couple of years,” Marabello said.

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