CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee has been diligently watching how it spends the taxpayers' money and to prove it Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator, showed the numbers on Wednesday night during a workshop meeting of the township committee.
The technology didn't cooperate during his power-point presentation, but Ciccarone got his point across, nonetheless, in listing the highlights of 2013. For the third year in a row the municipal tax rate did not go up.
"If your assessment is the same in 2014 as it was in 2013 and 2007, then one penny is the only increase you've seen in the local taxes, which is the municipal tax to run the government and the tax for open space," Ciccarone said.
"For a house assessed at $750,000, that's an increase of $75 in six years. The rate of 29 cents per $100 of valuation is the lowest of all Morris County municipalities."
The exception would be those that made additions or improvements to their homes and, therefore, had the value of their homes reassessed higher.
Ciccarone pointed out that the municipal purpose tax rate was 28 cents per $100 of valuation in 2007 and in 2013 it was 29 cents. a rise of one penny over that span.
Ciccarone also stated that the township has had a surplus for each of the last six years, including $3.8 million in 2013.
In other business, the committee unanimously adopted ordinance 2014-01, which amends the liquor license fees in town. The plenary retail consumption license will now cost $2,500 per year. There are three such licenses in the township.
The plenary retail distribution license, of which there are two in town, will cost $907 per year. There are two such licenses in the township.
The committee also introduced three ordinances on first reading: 2014-2, amending the Uniform Construction Code Fees; 2014-03, Vacating Easement; 2014-04, amending the Open Space Tax. All three ordinances will be up for adoption on March 13.
In 2014-03, the township is vacating its right to title and interest in a walkway that runs through two properties (about 700 fee in length), 73 Linden Lane and 75 Pine Street, at the request of the home owners. The walkway originally had been built for students walking to school, but has not been in use for quite some time.
The introduction of the walkway easement vacancy passed unanimously, but committee member Kathy Abbott expressed reservations because it ends the possibility of use if there is a need for such a walkway in the future.
Ordinance 2014-04 would lower the tax levy for Open Space in 2014 to $.005 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, but would return it to its current level of $.02 cents per $100 in 2015.
Mayor Kevin Sullivan reported that the Joint Court in Madison will save the township an additional $20,000 now that Morris Township has been added to the shared-service municipal court.