Government

Municipal Tax to Increase by $75 for Owner of 'Average' Home in Berkeley Heights

e461534d53e61f485c20_DSC06719.JPG
Credits: Barbara Rybolt
50120c5e78d5b3f7aa95_DSC06745.JPG
Berkeley Heights CFO Michel Marceau after the April 4, 2018, budget presentation. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
6519d7614510c6d61c42_DSC06738.JPG
Township Administrator John Bussiculo holds up a broken piston, one of 16 used in the backup generator that was disabled during a March storm at the wastewater treatment plant. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
2e8d2200aaa199299da4_DSC06741.JPG
A complete copy of the budget presentation made by Marceau can be found here: http://www.berkeleyheightstwpnj.gov/council/agendas-minutes/2018/Budget-Presentation-041018.pdf Credits: Barbara Rybolt
c0ca596f0e5bd7b97ee1_DSC06744.JPG
Credits: Barbara Rybolt
911c65dada25fae68920_DSC06747.JPG
Township Administrator John Bussiculo explains the problem with the broken piston to residents following the April 10, 2018, Special Meeting of the council. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
e461534d53e61f485c20_DSC06719.JPG

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Township residents will see their taxes to support the municipal government increase $75 a year to $2,461 on a home with an average assessed value of $311,875. Council members introduced the budget which provides $19,520,731, an increase of $365,606 over the 2017 budget, to run the township.  The public hearing and final adoption of the budget is scheduled for May 8. 

Tuesday night’s Township Budget presentation by CFO Michel Marceau came with a “show and tell” prop – one of 16 pistons from the disabled backup generator from the wastewater treatment plant.

During one of the March storms, the backup generator at the plant failed. While the plant was running without difficulty, DEP regulations require there to be a working backup generator on site, so the township rented a temporary unit which costs about $15,000 a month in rental fees. This will be covered by insurance said Marceau during the budget presentation.

Sign Up for E-News

That’s good news and the even better news is “in consultation with our auditors and bond counsel, we are confident we can pay for the repairs/rebuild of the generator via capital, but if that is not an option, replacement will definitely be paid through capital. There will not be any costs in this budget that have any anything to do with the generator,” he said.

The second piece of news wasn’t so good – the four storms in March and April “caused an inordinate buildup of snow at intersections and lots of downed trees,” he said. The DPW brought in outside contractors with “excavation equipment to remove snow and outside contractors to assist with removing trees … in part because of shortcomings with our bucket truck which only reaches 10-15 feet,” Marceau said.

That cost the township “about $48,000,” he said. To deal with the snow and tree clean up expenses, “the Environmental Commission has extended up to $10,000 from their tree removal budget” and the snow removal budget has been increased $35,000, he said. Of the $110,000 budgeted for 2018, $88,000 has already been spent this year, Marceau said, and October, November and December could bring more snow.

The additional snow-related costs add an extra $5 to the average tax bill this year, he said.

Despite those unexpected costs and the addition of another person in the DPW this year, resident John Sincaglia said he noticed, “If you take the debt service out, the rest of the budget is $7,500 less than you spent in 2017.”

Marceau explained that the increase in debt service costs came from borrowing not one but two years’ worth of money in 2017 for road repair, taking out a note in December of 2017 to buy the Hamilton Avenue property and $2 million for professional services for the redevelopment plan.

Sincaglia also congratulated the township for having “a health insurance increase of (only) $10,000.”

Marceau responded, “Our premiums actually went down this year. Hats off to Barbara to that.”

The $19,520,731 budget that funds the running of the municipality includes only 1.83% or $356,368 in “discretionary costs” said Marceau.

The breakdown of the $19,520,731 budget:

·         General Appropriations - $15,226,550, an increase of $274,338

·         Operations Excluded from CAPs - $1,450,490, a decrease of $29,183

·         Capital Improvements - $150,000, a decrease of $105,750

·         Municipal Debt Service - $2,140,691, an increase of $373,201

·         Reserve for Uncollected Taxes - $553,000, a decrease of $147,000

General Revenues for the budget:

·         Surplus Anticipated - $815,000, a $65,000 increase

·         Misc. Revenues - $3,996,553, a decrease of $82,119

·         Receipts from Delinquent taxes - $310,000, a decrease of $125,000

·         Municipal Tax Levy - $13,291,431, an increase of 514,289

·         Library Tax Levy - $1,107,747, a decrease of $6,564

Another source of revenue for the township this year is the Hotel Tax, which the state will not allow to be "anticipated" this year, because there is no historical precedent for that revenue, said Marceau.

A complete copy of the budget presentation made by Marceau can be found here

Copies of previously adopted budgets beginning in 2012 can be found here

The Union County and School District budgets still need to be approved before the total property tax rate is set. Taxes to support the township, including the library, account for about 18.73 percent of the tax bill; the County levy is about 25.11 percent and the school levy about 56.16 percent. 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 18, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

CRANFORD, NJ – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

ReNew Salon and Spa Welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo

GILLETTE, NJ - ReNew Salon and Spa welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo to their staff. Mormilo brings with her over 20 years of excellent customer service in the salon and spa industry.

She has extensive product knowledge, focuses on keeping up-to-date on industry standards and practices, believes in mentoring young stylists, and is a team player who strives to ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_c8cb6b45d2b342be3cbb_nancy_ori

Sat, July 21, 10:30 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Cuba: Observations of a Photographer

Arts & Entertainment Travel

Sat, July 21, 10:30 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Cuba: Observations of a Photographer at NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, July 22, 2:00 PM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Moths and other Pollinators

Education Green

Carousel_image_634bcda860ed17650f72_93a8625c-ce9d-413f-a61e-4b2df4fe0604

Tue, July 24, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant , Scotch Plains

Hear the Story of Amelia Earhart, America's Most ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_e6c7d5b8a558926ee4c5_8e2f7c3f3d7547130a87_swim_team_2

Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness

Special June Episode of 'Berkeley Heights Here & Now' Features 6th Annual Street Fair

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) today announced a special edition of Berkeley Heights Here & Now is available on the Township website, www.berkeleyheightstwpnj.gov.

 

The special episode features the 6th Annual Berkeley Heights Street Fair held on June 24 and includes onsite interviews with attending residents/visitors, event ...

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...