WEST ORANGE, NJ - Mayor Robert Parisi presented his "Tax Facts" powerpoint during the Conference portion of the April 8 township council meeting. In an effort to provide the residents of West Orange information on how the municipal portion of their property tax bill is spent, Parisi detailed what he described as the "balance between service and cost," while providing quantity and quality of services without increasing taxes.
Parisi's presentation noted several significant statistics about the way resident's property taxes were utilized. 14% of the property tax bill goes for county taxes; 61% for the board of education; and 25% for the municipal budget.
According to the NJ Division of Local Government services, since 2008 West Orange has had the lowest municipal tax increase in Essex County. 66% of municipalities in Essex County pay more in municipal taxes than West Orange, and only 45 of 565 munipalities had lower tax increases. As of 2010, only 10 municipalities increased taxes less than West Orange.
The township budget for 2013 was $73,296,719.47. Residents are taxed on approximately $51,828,179. with the difference coming from other revenue sources.
The responsibilities of that budget include providing service and maintenance to a township of 47,000 residents; 14,000 households; 100 miles of roads and sewers; 496 businesses; 100 acres of township parks and owned properties, 365 days per year.
There was a 0% municipal budget increase in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and a 1.474% increase in 2013. The municipal budget for 2014 will include another 0% budget increase.
West Orange provides more services than most townships in Essex County, including free community jitney and senior citizen services, fire and police departments, curbside recycling and a recycling center (including free mulch), garbage removal including bulk items, leaf pickup, library, recreation, athletic fields, and more. 80% of taxes are collected residentially.
Since 2010, municipal taxes have increased 8% in Millburn; 10% in Livingston, 15% in Verona; 20% in Montclair, and 25% in Roseland.
New initiatives for township employee health care in the form of Health Insurance Funds and Joint Insurance funds, are expected to reduce costs over $700,000 this year.
Since 2006, the number of township employees has been reduced from 375 to 304, though the township will have to deal with the upswing in pension costs as more municipal employees retire.
The township has reduced debt by $7,000,000 since 2009.
Parisi went on to explain reductions in state aid and other forms of income received by the township.
In other news, Resolution 67-14, to introduce the 2014-2015 budget, was unanimously approved. A budget hearing is scheduled for May 6, 2014, at 7:00 pm.
The township council voted 4-1 in favor of a complete reconstruct of the Ginny Duenkel Wading Pool, with Councilman Krakoviak voting no.
To see the complete video of Mayor Parisi's Tax Facts presentation, and to learn even more about municipal mandates and requirements, view the video at . The public meeting follows the Mayor's presentation.