CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee introduced the 2020 municipal budget, which calls for $3.3 million to be spent on affordable housing obligations at its "remote" meeting on Thursday night.

The public hearing on the budget is set for April 23.

The committee held its meeting without the public present due to the Coronavirus pandemic and Chatham Township Mayor Michael Kelly announced that two more cases had been confirmed in the township, pushing the total to seven. 

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The budget includes $2.6 million for the purchase of five group homes to meet its affordable housing obligations, with another $300,000 for improvements to those homes. The budget also calls for $352,000 in affordable housing costs in the operating budget.

According to Chatham Township Administrator Robert Hoffmann, the budget will cost taxpayers .348 cents per $100 of assessed home value, an increase over last year's .320.  Hoffmann pointed to an increase in debt service from previous years, IT investments, affordable housing costs and a reduced revenue forecast for the rise in the tax rate (see video below).

The total to be raised by taxes is $9.9 million, which includes the use of $3 million in surplus and $836,000 in state aid.

In other business, the committee voted, 5-0, to introduce an ordinance that will reduce the open space tax from two cents to one cent. The public hearing on the reduction will take place at the April 9 meeting.