WAYNE, NJ – Just two weeks into the new ‘Twenties,’ and with the Township and Board of Education beginning to work on budgets for the new year, thoughts of revenues, expenses, surpluses and shortfalls drift about Wayne Township on the ether.

At the January 2 Wayne Township Reorganization meeting, newly sworn-in President of the Council Joe Scuralli and Mayor Chris Vergano spoke of the enviable position Wayne is in financially. 

This was not political bluster.  This is backed by a report from Moodys Investment Services. Moodys rates the credit worthiness of corporate or government bonds giving investors information on the likelihood that debts will be paid back.

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Moodys 2019 report on Wayne Township was glowing.

From the Moody’s report on Wayne Township:

Wayne Township’s credit position is excellent, and its AAA rating is significantly higher than the median rating of AA3 for US Cities. The key credit factors include a robust financial position, a very strong wealth and income profile, and a substantial tax base.  The township’s credit position also reflects a low debt burden and a slightly elevated pension liability.

Finances: The township has a robust financial position. It’s cash balance as a percent of its operating revenues (39.6%) is consistent with the US Median, and it increased significantly between 2014 and 2018. Additionally, the township’s fund balance as a percent of its operating revenues (40.8%) is slightly higher than that of other Moody’s-rated cities nationwide.

Economy and Tax Base: The economy and tax base of Wayne Township are exceptionally healthy. The median family income of township residents is a robust 184.6% of the US Median level. In addition, the full value per capita of the township’s tax base ($191,793) is much stronger than the US median and increased notably from 2014 – 2018. Lastly, the total full value of Wayne Township’s tax base ($10.3B) is significantly larger than that of other Moody’s-rated cities nationwide.

Debt and Pensions: the debt and pension liabilities of the township are moderate overall. However, the township’s pension liability is slightly unfavorable when compared to its AAA rating. Wayne’s net direct debt to full value (0.6%) is slightly lower than the US median and remained stable from 2014 – 2018. In addition, the ratio of the township’s Moody’s-adjusted net pension liability to its operating revenues (2.7x) is unfavorably higher than the US median.

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According to Heather McNamara, the Wayne Township Chief Financial Officer, Wayne’s top revenue generators in 2018 were:

  • Residential Property Taxes: Approximately $44.25M
  • Commercial Property Taxes: Approximately $14.25M
  • State Aid (Grants from the State to offset property taxes): Approximately $4.3M
  • Construction Code (fees paid for construction permits): Approximately $1.3M
  • Court Fees, Tickets and Fines: Approximately $960K

Top Three Expenses in 2018:

  • Pensions: Approximately $45.6M
  • Public Safety (Police Department – Officers and Employees): Approximately $17.6M
  • Health Insurance for Employees: Approximately $12.2M

The total assessed values of properties in 2018 were:

  • Residential: $3.79 Billion
  • Commercial: $1.32 Billion
  • Total land assessed value for Wayne Township: $5.1 Billion

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Where do your taxes go?

Take a look at your tax bill and you will see that every dollar collected in taxes is distributed between three entities in these percentages:

  • Wayne School District: 53.23%
  • Passaic County: 24.81%
  • Wayne Township: 21.96%

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For Wayne Township perhaps this new decade may be like the 'twenties' of one hundred years ago: Roaring.