NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council provided a PowerPoint presentation on the 2020 Municipal Budget at its Tuesday, May 26 Zoom meeting. Council members Nadine Geoffroy and Peter DeSarno explained the budget highlights.
The municipal taxes are going up by 1.93 percent or $52.84 for an average borough home assessed at $282,000 (market value at $560,000-$600,000). With the inclusion of the municipal open space (.18 %) and library taxes (1.39 %) the tax increase totals $60.80 for the average home.
DeSarno noted that the borough has a AAA bond rating and its goal is to maintain the borough in a fiscally sound position in order to keep a favorable credit rating going forward. Geoffroy said that the borough expects revenue reduction of approximately $157,000 due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The borough is also actively looking for state and county grants to offset expenses. Additionally, the borough is cutting expenses through shared service agreements with other municipalities.
Public safety costs, employee salaries and benefits as well as infrastructure costs make up the lion’s share of the approximately $24 million municipal budget. Municipal taxes cover 59 percent of the budget.
DeSarno pointed out that New Providence compares favorably to its peer Union County municipalities featuring lower tax rates than its neighbors. He also noted that the garbage collection and sewer charges are included in the property taxes in New Providence while many other communities charge for these services separately.
The council also approved a $2,484,000 capital improvement authorization ordinance. However, both Geoffroy and DeSarno noted that the capital spending is based on needs, not wants. Geoffroy explained that the approved ordinance allows the borough to issue bonds if the need arises. The ordinance has no impact on either the operating budget or property taxes. The current projects are funded from previously financed appropriations.
Borough resident Allen Swanson pointed out that it would be beneficial for residents to have access to detailed information about the planned capital projects. He also requested that the budget presentation be made available to residents prior to the council approving it. Geoffroy noted that council members are always available to answer any questions regarding the budget or capital projects.
Geoffroy also urged the residents to use the property tax calculator tool that is available on the borough’s website. The calculator breaks down how each home’s taxes are spent. She also noted that the borough will continue to monitor and amend the budget throughout the year.