February 28, 2014 at 12:05 AM
CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee approved its 2014 budget and discussed the possibility of adding more curbside recycling at its meeting held Thursday night.
For the fourth straight year, the municipal tax rate did not increase for the township, staying at 29 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
Chatham Township was recently ranked as the safest place to live in New Jersey, according to 2012 FBI statistics cited in a real estate article. Of the municipal budget, 24 percent was spent on public safety and 21 percent for public works.
The total budget for 2014 is $14,307,221, an increase of $295,000. Local taxes went up $112,366 to $8,698,339.
The township closed out 2013 with a surplus of $3,877,000, reducing its salaries and wages by $53,000. Health care costs went up $150,000, but contributions for those benefits rose to $176,000.
Sixty-six percent of the overall budget goes to fund the schools. Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator, pointed out in his report on the budget that state aid to the township would remain the same as last year at $836,467.
In other business, the committee discussed the possibility of adding more curbside recycling at a cost of about $46,000 or $13 per year for each household. The township currently has curbside pickup every two weeks, but some residents are asking for weekly pickup, noting that about 200 residents have signed a petition in favor of the change.
"To me, I think it's a 50-50 issue," Mayor Kevin Sullivan said.
The committee is seeking more data on recycling, such as how many residents take their recycling to the Tanglewood facility, which is open 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.
"The more data we have, the better," Committee member Curt Ritter said.