BRIDGEWATER, NJ - With a small increase in taxes projected for the average household, and even more money being set aside for road improvements, the Bridgewater Township Council introduced its $43 million 2017 budget.

The budget is set at $43,604,621.89 for 2017, a 0.3 percent increase over the realized 2016 budget of $43,447,365.18.

According to township administrator James Naples, the budget is calling for an increase in taxes of $17.16 for the average home assessed at $425,900.

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The tax levy, Naples said, is increasing 1.92 percent over the 2016 budget.

Naples said the only real notable changes in the budget are increases in health care costs and debt service payments, all of which are required costs.

In addition, Naples said, the budget includes $5.5 million in road improvement work. In 2016 and 2015, the budgets appropriated $5 million for roadwork.

“This is the fifth straight year of increases in this amount,” he said.

The township is also receiving flat state aid this year, a total of about $5.9 million.

The council also introduced the cap bank ordinance, which allows the township to increase the budget by 1.5 percent over the state-allowed 2 percent cap.

With this ordinance, the township is just banking expenditures in case they are needed in the future, but they are not exceeding any expenditures.

“We do this every year,” Naples said. “We are establishing the cap so we can keep our balance healthy in the event we need to exceed the cap.”

“We’re taking the exemption to bank that amount in future years,” he added. “You can save it for three years.”

Public hearing for the budget will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 20 in the municipal courtroom on Commons Way.