BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ While township officials always stress that they work on planning the budget year-round, 'tis the season when figures are being pulled together to compile the 2020 municipal budget in preparation for introduction and adoption this spring.

Township Administrator Pat Monaco said last week that the township staff is planning to meet with the Bernards Township Committee in mid-February to review figures for the 2020 municipal budget.

The Township Committee will likely introduce this year's municipal budge in late March and vote for final adoption in late April, said Sean McCarthy, chief financial officer for Bernards Township.

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Responding to a question from TAP Into, McCarthy said the township won't receive definitive numbers on the state aid that Bernards will receive this year until the state finalizes its own budget. However, he added the state has advised the municipality to "anticipate 2019 aid amounts for 2020 planning purposes." 

The $41.5-million Bernards Township municipal budget was adopted last April 23.

Last year's budget boosted spending on capital expenditures, putting aside about $4.45-million aside for road construction and other infrastructure improvements. However, McCarthy said he can't comment on capital budget specifics for 2020 until the township staff meets for in-depth discussions with the Township Committee.

The 2019 Bernards Township municipal tax rate was 29.7 cents per $100 of assessed property value, according to township figures. Combined with the library tax rate, the total municipal tax rate was 33.2 cents, rounded off, according to the township.

Last year's municipal budget added an average of just under $30 more in annual municipal taxes on an average home, appraised at about $625,000 for 2019.

About two-thirds of the total property tax bill in Bernards Township goes to support the local school system. In 2019, about 14.6 percent of the total property tax rate went to support the municipal tax budget, with another 1.73 percent to support the Bernards Township library.