MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn Township officials introduced a $50 million budget for this year and offered an overview during Tuesday night’s session.
The budget calls for a penny increase for every $100 of assessed property valuation. For the average home, valued at slightly over $1 million, that increase would amount to $96.87, or 27 cents a day.
The full budget can be seen on the township’s Web site, www.twp.millburn.nj.us/ Budget questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A further detailed presentation of the budget, followed by adoption, is scheduled for May 1.
Committee member Theodore Bourke narrated a PowerPoint presentation.
Privatizing sanitation services this year has resulted in substantial savings for the township, according to Bourke.
"It’s given us the opportunity to manage pretty well,” he said.
The committee member showed the higher tax is needed because of an increase of nearly $1 million in operating expenses, especially nondiscretionary ones, as well as an increase in capital funding of $100,000 and a decrease in revenues of $4,500.
As an example of nondiscretionary spending, Bourke cited the township’s reserve for unpaid taxes. The municipality collects taxes for schools and the county, as well as its own purposes. Those entities must be paid in full, so the township will reserve nearly $1.5 million for any shortfall.
Each tax point represents approximately $814,000 for the township.
Bourke also discussed two challenges for the municipality. The first of those is the capital improvement fund for large purchases and projects.
“We have a 5-year plan,” he said. “(The fund) has been steadily decreasing, so we bumped it up a little this year.”
The committee member noted officials considered raising taxes by two cents, but that they had chosen not to do so.
“We can manage through this,” he added.
The second challenge Bourke cited is the need to continue to look for improvements in government operations.
During public discussion, resident Sara Sherman of Greenwood Drive, representing the South Mountain Civic Association, told Township Administrator Timothy Gordon “we appreciate your visit to our neighborhood” to discuss flood remediation construction.
She asked if, in the short term, the township has an emergency management plan should there be another hurricane.
“Is there something proactive that could be done?” she asked.
Gordon said the township has a federal emergency management plan which he would be happy to explain. He suggested holding a session with residents on that topic in the next few months.
Mayor Sandra Haimoff said a session on emergency preparedness had recently been offered, although not by the township.
“We’re not getting the word out to enough people,” she noted before giving her endorsement to a meeting with the civic association.
In other business, the committee authorized a closed session following the regular meeting to discuss litigation. Those items were listed on the agenda as “Chai Center v. Millburn Township, Kenneth Duym v. Millburn Township and Negotiation over easement conveyance—Old Short Hills Park.”