SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – At a public meeting May 16, the Borough of South Plainfield Council adopted a 2017 spending plan that features slightly lower property taxes than last year. The council voted 5-0 in favor of the $28,735,856 ($28.7M) spending plan; Councilman Gary Vesce was absent.
“This budget is a win for South Plainfield,” said Mayor Matt Anesh. “Each year, the goal is to adequately fund government operations, but to make sure the interests of the taxpayers are foremost in everyone’s mind.”
The $28.7 million budget calls for $19,166,177 in taxes to fund municipal and library operations, a decrease of almost $69,000 from 2016.
“The part of the tax bill that we can control, we have controlled for the past eight years,” said Anesh.
In the 2017 budget, salary and wages are up less than 1.6-percent, but total expenses are $1.5 million below the state allowable expense CAP despite a nearly $600,000 combined increase of health benefit and pension costs. In addition to expenses, property taxes are $1,075,730 below the allowable property tax CAP.
“Each year we operate on just what the borough needs,” said Anesh. “Taxes are over $1 million below what the state would approve. Smaller and affordable government is how the borough prides itself in operating year-in and year-out and we’re working hard to keep it that way.”
Under the adopted spending plan, the average assessed home in South Plainfield will pay $1,669.62 in municipal taxes in 2017 - $10.62 below last year. This represents 23.3-percent of the total average property tax bill, which is currently estimated to total $7,142.54.
According to Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Jr., chairman of the borough’s administration and finance committee, the municipal tax rate is less than last year and less than 2009.
“I think the borough has the second or third lowest tax rate in Middlesex County, and I’m confident this year’s budget will only strengthen that position,” said Bengivenga, adding, “I’m the borough’s toughest critic. Each year we strive to be the best in operations, but also recognize the need to be affordable to our residents. I know how difficult it is for people to make ends meet, and I’m grateful of the work that everyone put into this budget.”
One of the items that were stressed by both Bengivenga and Borough CFO/Administrator Glenn Cullen is the stability of the borough’s financial operations.
“There are no crazy peaks or valleys in the operations or taxes,” said Cullen.
Following the adoption of the spending plan, Anesh commended Council President Derryck White and his Economic Development Committee, which includes Bengivenga and fellow Councilman Joe Wolak, for their efforts to ‘once again achieve those goals.’ According to the mayor, their work ‘has been critical to the borough’s financial results.’
“The borough’s ratable base has increased over $9,000,000 in the past two years and that is a direct reflection of Council President White’s hard work and determination attracting new jobs and businesses to South Plainfield,” said Anesh.
“This is a team effort,” said White. “Everyone one is working hard to make South Plainfield a better place - from the chief of police right down to summer help in public works. I’m pleased we were able to deliver this budget to our residents.”
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