ROXBURY, NJ – The municipal portion of the average Roxbury homeowner’s tax bill will increase by about $17 per year under a new township budget introduced by the Roxbury Mayor and Council on Tuesday.

Residents will be allowed to comment about the proposed $29,770,318 budget at a public hearing scheduled for May 7 at 7:30 p.m. in town hall.

The budget represents an overall decrease of $808,102 from the 2018 budget, but the amount to be raised by taxation increases from $22,788,146 to $22,965,203 to make up for a slight dip in miscellaneous revenue and a $100,000 reduction in surplus used to offset the budget, officials said.

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Township auditor William Schroeder explained the tax rate to fund the new budget will increase .78 percent from $.628 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.061.

The budget calls for $1,089,054 to be raised for the township public library, or $.031 per $100, and $418,115 for the municipal open space tax, or $.120 per $100. Township Manager John Shepherd said the open space tax increases about the same amount each year by design.

For the average homeowner – one with a house valued at $208,342 – the municipal portion of property taxes will increase $17.25, going from $2,210 to $2,227, if the budget is adopted.  The average house value did not change from 2018, Schroeder said.

He said the township kept all expenses under the state-mandated budget cap.

Roxbury Mayor Robert DeFillippo said the council met repeatedly since January to come up with the best budget possible. He pointed out the tax increase is less than it was from 2017 to 2018.

The full tax bill includes levies not only from the township but also from the school district and county.

Electric Bill Savings Plan Shelved

In other business, the council tabled an ordinance establishing an electric aggregation program in the township.

Roxbury Councilman Dan Kline, who has been spearheading the program, dissented from the vote to table the ordinance introduction.

Other council members said they were concerned the proposed ordinance stipulated the township would use Concord Energy Services to seek bids from third-party electricity suppliers. Roxbury Councilman Richard Zoschak pointed out the township hasn’t looked into any other vendors that might be able to seek bids.

The council authorized Shepherd to look into additional vendors. The ordinance will be reconsidered at a later meeting.

The council also authorized Shepherd to change the location of the September “Neighborhood Meeting” from Fire Station #2 to the recently refurbished historic railroad station in Landing. The meeting will take place at the station 7 p.m. on Sept 17. The Lake Hopatcong Foundation, which owns the structure, invited council to use the building.

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