RARITAN, NJ - Raritan Borough introduced its 2017 budget Tuesday with a flat tax rate and a slight decrease in the overall budget.

The 2017 budget is currently set at $10,897,968.70 for both revenues and appropriations.

This is a decrease of 4.1 percent over the 2016 budget set at $11,372,199.78

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Borough administrator Dan Jaxel said a big reason for the decrease is the elimination of $650,000 that was required to be paid through the settlement with Gannett in 2016 over the lawsuit concerning release of records. That expenditure has been removed from the 2017 budget because it was taken care of in the 2016 one.

Jaxel said the budget could increase in the coming months because of grants to be added in, but those won’t change the tax rate.

“For example, we had to include an appropriation of $200,000 last year for a transportation trust fund grant that we got in 2016,” he said. “It was budgeted after the budget was adopted, but the state allows that because we are not increasing taxes.”

As for the municipal taxes, they are remaining the same, as they have since 2015.

“It is a flat local tax rate, the second year in a row that it is flat,” council president Denise Carra said.

Jaxel said this budget does include $15,500 for a master plan reexamination, which is not an annual item.

“The full master plan was done in 2003 as part of the regional center,” he said. “So this reexamination stands out as something a little bit different.”

Other than that, Jaxel said, there is nothing new in the budget, with numbers remaining stable for sewage, debt authority and more. 

“Except for some increases in union contracts, there is nothing really worth noting,” he said. “Pensions did go up from the state, but it is not that much proportionally.”

In addition, the borough introduced the cap bank ordinance, which it does every year. The ordinance allows the borough to increase the budget by a small amount over the state-allowed 2 percent cap. 

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

Public hearings for the budget and cap bank ordinance are set for April 25.