MILLBURN, NJ – The Township Committee unanimously passed a resolution approving the 2014 municipal budget of $51,857,251 at its meeting on Tuesday night. The amount represents an increase over the 2013 budget of 2.5 percent.
Committeeman W. Theodore Bourke pointed out that property tax changes must be made in increments of a “whole penny” per $100 of assessed valuation. This proposed budget is the first time in the last five years that the increase would be two cents per $100 rather than one cent.
“When you take the total assessed value of all the property in the Township of Millburn, each penny increase represents about $800,000,” Bourke said. “In effect you’re working with $800,000 increments, up, down, however you can. For the last five years, we have worked to keep that increment to a one-cent increase.“
He said that in past years, the working budgets have never come in under a penny increase, but the Committee has taken measures to round down to a penny. In 2013, they chose to spend $500,000 less on capital improvements, including things like fire trucks and equipment. Additionally, they had chosen to spend about $3 million of the town’s surplus funds over the last four years to get the tax increase down to one penny.
This year, capital spending will increase to cover costs in two main areas: public safety and emergency infrastructure. There will be new security cameras and associated equipment installed, and work done to mitigate future flooding, as well as expenditures related to police and fire departments.
“Capital’s got to come from somewhere,” said Mayor Robert Tillotson. “For three years, we have been able to hold off on some of these major expenditures, but we think that economically, the environment is better now than it has been in three or four years and it’s time. Hopefully, it won’t continue and we’ll get back to one penny increases in the future.”
The full budget will be available for review on the Township’s website, and a public hearing will be held on May 6, along with a more detailed presentation and possible adoption of the budget.