SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Borough Council, at a meeting April 15, introduced its 2019 municipal budget. The proposed $30,965,809 spending plan is scheduled to be reviewed during a public meeting on May 20.
The proposed budget is roughly a $1.1 million increase over the current year’s spending plan of 29,828,382.73 of which $20,204,395 in taxes will fund municipal and library operations including but not limited to, public safety, debt service/principle payments, health insurance costs, and the community pool.
If the budget is adopted in current form, the average home assessed at $123,000 will pay $1,739.70 in municipal taxes; a $59.75 increase over the current year.
“This is just the budget introduction, but I am pleased that taxes were kept in check,” said Mayor Matt Anesh. “This is the first time in three years there has been a municipal tax increase and the borough has committed itself to invest more funds in public safety, debt principal and the community pool.”
“In 10 years, the municipal tax levy is up less than 3/10ths of 1-percent,” added CFO/Administrator Glenn Cullen.
According to Cullen, ‘drivers’ in the budget include salaries associated with hiring of additional school safety resource officers, an increase in principal payments and health insurance costs, along with renovations and repairs at the South Plainfield Community Pool. Despite these expenses, he said, the proposed spending plan is ‘$1,518,276 below the State Allowable Levy CAP.’
During Monday night’s meeting, both Cullen and Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Jr., chair of Administrative and Finance,stressed that the borough’s financial operations are stable and that the municipality’s ratable base is up approximately $13 million for 2019, for an approximate $32 million increase over the past two years.
“There are no crazy peaks or valleys in the operations or taxes,” said Cullen. “This, I believe, is why S&P singled out our strong financial performance last year.”
Additionally, borough Republicans commended Councilman Derryck White, chair of the Economic Development Committee, for his ‘hard work and determination in attracting new jobs and businesses to South Plainfield.’
The introduction of the municipal budget passed 4-2 Monday night with all four Republican councilmembers voting ‘yes’ and the two Democratic councilmembers voting ‘no, not at this time.’
“This is just the introduction,” said Council President Joseph Wolak. “A lot of hard work goes into crafting the budget and we look forward to working with our department heads to fine tune the budget over the coming weeks.”
“The part of the tax bill that we can control, we have controlled for the past ten years,” added Anesh. “Each year we operate on just what the borough needs. This year is no different from the last nine.”
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