SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Township Council introduced the 2018 budget at the meeting on Tuesday night. 

“We are going out a just one additional tax point,” Township Manager Bill Close said. 

The average assessed home will see an increase of $35 to approximately $2196, due to the township budget according to Close.

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The average home is Sparta has slightly decreased in value to $370,000 according to Township CFO Grant Rome.  “The equalized value of the town has gone up,” Rome said.  This indicated the township has a larger pool of ratables, “which is good news for the town.”

“The budget has been run well over the past few years,” Close said.  Over the past years the township has approved a budget below the two percent levy increase as allowable by New Jersey law.  The difference between the actual budget and the two percent allowed creates “banked cap.” 

The council approved a resolution establishing a Cap Bank at the meeting on Tuesday. The 2018 banked cap is for $623,826 according to the resolution.  Funds in a Cap Bank are available for two years to be used to exceed the two percent cap in an upcoming budget.

“We are not anticipating needing to use the banked cap,” Close said. 

The council was in the same situation last year.  They established a Cap Bank for $609,447 in 2017, according to resolution 17-03.

Included in the budget is the addition of a School Resource Officer or SRO, also established in a resolution authorizing a shared service agreement with the Sparta Board of Education.  The township and the board of education will split the cost of the officer including salary, benefits and training, Chief Neil Spidaletto told TAPinto Sparta in an earlier interview.

Sparta Cpl. Dave Pridham will become the SRO, according to Spidaletto.  Pridham has already been trained for the new position and will start on the day schools reopen after spring break on April 9. 

Pridham will be teaching classes including LEAD in fifth and sixth grade and Not Even Once in the high school. He will be in all of the Sparta public schools.  The two security guards at the high school will remain as they are, though Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi has discussed making changes to allow them to be armed.