MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Township Committee will introduce the 2014 budget later this month, which includes a two percent tax increase for residents, Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca said Tuesday night.

The $39,318,967 budget will come before the Maplewood Township Committee for introduction and public comment on March 18. The budget will then need to come before the Committee one more time for second reading and another public comment period before it can be adopted.

“The total appropriation for 2014 is actually lower by one percent than in 2013,” said De Luca. “We are only incurring about 90 percent of the debt we are retiring.”

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The two percent tax increase will mean an additional $75.33 for the average Maplewood homeowner with an assessed property value of $395,254.

“The 2014 budget reflects the values of the Township Committee,” said Township Administrator Joseph Manning, who provided the highlights of the budget.

According to Manning, the key points of the budget include:

•   The addition of two more police officers

•   Technology upgrades for public safety

•   A new fire engine

•   $1.2 million in road reconstruction and repair

•   Additional technology upgrades and energy savings for the library

•   Continuing shared services with other municipalities including South Orange

•   Purchasing a new Jitney bus

•   The purchase of a street sweeper for cleaner streets

•   Additional money allocated to cleaning the sidewalks and removing gum around Maplewood Village

•   The addition of parking spaces around 60 Woodland Road.

The Township Committee also unanimously passed bond ordinance on first reading, Tuesday, for various capital improvement projects for 2014. The ordinance issues the bonding of $2,908,737 to finance a majority of the $3,624,022 Capital Budget.

The bond ordinance will come before the Committee for second reading, public comment and adoption on March 18.