Government

Increasing Tax Ratables Easing Borough’s Budget Process

939d410dc420ce41d4f2_newprovmunicipalcomplex.jpg
939d410dc420ce41d4f2_newprovmunicipalcomplex.jpg

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – We have “a very nice situation,” Councilman Michael Gennaro told the council at the recent meeting as he lifted the vail on the borough’s upcoming budget. He referred to the fact that there has been “significant increases” to the borough’s tax ratables this year, similarly as last year.

There is not the same degree of difficulty in approving requests for spending as in previous years due to the favorable tax ratables, he said. “We are able to say ‘yes’ to some people,” when in the past it was not possible. However, he cautioned that this situation will not continue indefinitely. “This will probably be the last year with this size of an increase.” The ratables are projected to go up for a couple of years, but not to the same degree as this year, he explained.

Due to the increase of tax ratables the borough is able to limit the tax rate increase to 1.53 percent, “well below the two percent we shoot for every year.” The tax rate increase includes the hike of the open space tax from 0.0045 percent to 0.006 percent. The open space tax funds allow the borough to acquire open space or use it for different projects, such as for example the clean-up of the Ping Wang property.

Sign Up for E-News

The open space tax funds can also be used for field upgrades. We expect the artificial turf to last, but eventually they will need to be replaced in 8-12 years depending on the level of wear and tear. We don’t want to leave the future council with no means to pay for those projects, Gennaro said.

The tax rate increase will translate into $40.70 annual increase for the average home with an assessed value of $282,000. Gennaro noted that the market value is approximately double of the assessed value.

This year we are able to increase spending by 4.3 percent or $816,000. The amount of money raised by taxes will see an increase of 4.5 percent, totaling $554,000. The total value of assessed borough properties has grown above $40 million recently. “It is a great thing for the borough’s budget, but also a testament to the attractiveness of the borough.” We were able to attract businesses that were willing to spend money on their land and buildings. “We are pretty proud of that,” Gennaro stated.

Gennaro also listed some of the planned spending items. One of them is updating the borough’s tax maps in preparation for a borough-wide tax assessments “that will be forced upon us in probably two years,” he said. The borough is budgeting $50,000 for the tax maps.

The borough is also going to add one police officer. “We are still not back to the level we were when we cut the staff to accommodate budget needs,” Gennaro said. The cost for an added police officer is estimated at $140,000 per year. Additionally, the borough will add a full-time employee in the Community Activities Center, which is becoming busier each year with an increased number of both child and adult participants.

Other spending items include a $55,000 sewer charge increase to the Joint Meeting, $120,000 for tax appeals and $200,000 for funding ordinances that will eventually be financed through bond sales.  The borough will also set aside $50,000 for the statutory reserve of uncollected taxes.

The proposed capital budget will be approximately $1.2 million. A total of $405,000 will be spent on road work and $225,000 on building improvements. The borough will also purchase a new loader for $50,000 and new computers for $27,000. The borough expects to spend $250,000 on recreational facilities. The Fire Department will get new gear and equipment with a budgeted cost of $170,000 while $100,000 will be spent on surveillance equipment for the Police Department.

Gennaro explained that the borough is looking ahead and anticipates tax increases for the next five years. In 2018 the tax increase is estimated at 1.87 percent, and in 2019 and 2020 the rate will be approximately 2 percent.

Councilman Jim Madden reflected back to the past and the difficult times when then council had to make cuts in the budget and cut personnel. “I give those people a lot of credit. They were tough decisions, but right decisions,” he said.

Gennaro said that the council had a lot of debates back then, but always supported those difficult decisions. “We are lucky now,” but at the same time the Financial Committee understands that this situation is not “a license to spend.” It is our responsibility to keep the property taxes reasonable and to vet all spending items carefully, he said.

Mayor Al Morgan added that planning ahead five to ten years gives the borough an edge when dealing with spending.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Amazon’s Career Choice program wins “Community Excellence” award

May 23, 2018

EDISON, NJ - Amazon’s Career Choice program recently received the “Community Excellence” award from the New Jersey Community College Consortium for its impact on the local community.

Steven Johnson, Amazon’s Director for Associate Development, was on hand to accept the award and lead a panel discussion on how the program provides trained, motivated employees for ...

Union County Celebrates National Trails Day with Free Guided Hikes and Activities, June 2

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors of all ages to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of National Trails Day at the Watchung Reservation on Saturday, June 2, where the County’s Trailside Nature & Science Center will host four different guided hikes and an Adopt-a-Trail volunteer activity along with special programs throughout the day for all ages. The ...

The Ducks Are Here

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Just arrived. Over four thousand little yellow rubber duckies, ready to swim their little webbed feet off for their adoptive “parents.”

Ducky adoption tickets are just $5 each and available throughout Berkeley Heights oAm Bagel, 7-Eleven, Stop n/ Shop, and out front of our town post office to find and adopt as many duckies as you’d like.

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Coach Bottone Tribute

May 19, 2018

2017 Pioneer football players took on a tall task of filling a lot of open spots with not many returning players. We had 30 kids on our football team who all wanted to be there. With a new head coach who just came on board in late April, we had a lot of things to do without much time. Most people would say being on a 1-9 football team would be no fun and, at times, it wasn’t, but it was the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7f6c107703df2d416aa6_barre_intesity

Wed, May 23, 8:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness , New Providence

Barre Intensity

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_9b6d72bb10d15de52ffa_pilates-mat-pic

Wed, May 23, 8:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Mat Pilates

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_c64d737a46240c5e09c6_lean_technique_woman

Wed, May 23, 9:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Lean, Cardio, Strength, Tone and Stretch

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_a4801a3d56342db1596a_pilates_reformer

Wed, May 23, 10:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Pilates Reformer

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_c2872dd7b6bba99b4cf7_ducky_drop

Wed, May 23, 12:00 PM

Passaic River Park, Berkeley Heights

The Ducks Are Here

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Carousel_image_d3114c224cbfa47c81e0_restorative-yoga

Wed, May 23, 7:00 PM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Restorative Yoga

Health & Wellness

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...