New Brunswick to Hold Hearing on $91.3M Budget with Tax Hike

Credits: New Brunswick City Hall

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The city’s proposed 2017 municipal budget would maintain services and boost taxes, according to a New Brunswick official.

Residents will get the chance to comment on the $91.3 million spending plan at the New Brunswick City Council’s 6:30 p.m. meeting tonight, May 3, in City Hall. Afterward, the panel is scheduled to vote on whether to amend or adopt the budget.

“We’re going to fully fund all of our traditional services and programs,” City Administrator Thomas Loughlin III said when the budget was introduced. “We are still suffering from the same kinds of things—our pension bills keep going up, our health costs to our employees and retirees are increasing.”

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The proposed budget represents a $2 million increase from last year’s tab.

The city expects to raise roughly $35.3 million through local and other taxes, according to a copy of the introduced budget. That’s up from $33.7 million in 2016.

A major revaluation across New Brunswick has reconfigured home values and the tax rate, which decides how much residents pay in property taxes.

The proposed tax rate is 99.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, according to the proposed budget. That means the owner of a home assessed at the city average of $271,200 would pay almost $2,704 in municipal property taxes this year.

Loughlin said the increase is roughly 5 percent from 2016.

Of course, the city takes up only a portion of the property tax bill. Much of the money a homeowner owes comes from the county and the school district.

The revaluation has raised New Brunswick’s ratable base—composed of taxpayers—from $1.3 billion to $3.3 billion, Loughlin said.

Loughlin said the budget paves the way for the hiring of a coordinator to oversee the city’s abandoned-property registration system, a full-time emergency management coordinator in the fire department and five new police officers, who would replace three or four who plan to retire.

The city will likely pay more than $14.7 million in health benefits, up by more than $700,000 from last year, according to budget documents. Pension costs, meanwhile, will rise by roughly $1 million.

New Brunswick anticipates a surplus of $2.5 million in 2017.

The city also expects $15.64 million in state aid—including a $700,000 payment from Rutgers—this year. That number would climb from $15.58 million in 2016.

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