WARREN, NJ - Warren Township approved it’s 2019 Municipal Budget at the last meeting of the Warren Township Committee.
The $20 million budget includes a 3.8 percent tax levy increase, with the local tax rate of 30.65 cents per $100 of assessed value in 2019, up from 29.3 cents in 2018.
The average Warren homeowner with a property value of $743,713, will pay about $2,280, up $99 from $2,181 last year for municipal tax.
The Township Committee is responsible for managing the smallest share of the tax dollar paid by residents at 15 percent. Warren Township Board of Education is responsible for 43 percent, Watchung Hills Regional High School is responsible for 21 percent, and Somerset County is responsible for 20 percent.
Deputy Mayor Michael Marion, chair of the township’s finance committee, said the tax levy increase is the result of rising costs, in part due to the loss of ratables, namely Chubb and Citigroup, in the Township and the increased need for road improvements. The budget includes $1,325,000 in surplus funds to help fund improvement projects of which $1,035,000 will be set aside for road maintenance. In addition, costs include increases in state pension and health care costs.
Positively impacting the bottom line, the town sold a liquor license for $701,000 for a liquor store.
Marion said he expects a brighter tax future with a plan to increase the ratables and attract new business to Warren Township. Both property owners (of the Chubb and Citigroup properties) have been to the planning board working on replacement tenants, with at least one expected this year, he said. The Township is looking to work closely to help support commercial businesses.
Already forecasting and working on next year’s budget, Marion anticipates a tax decrease in 2020 and an even year in 2021, while maintaining a AAA bond rating by balancing the surplus, and spreading out the possible banked cap. Warren has been looking at its budgets for multiple years to minimize tax impact on residents, Marion said.
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Earlier in the meeting , the Warren Township Committee and State of New Jersey Honored Carolann Garafola and Dedicated Garafola Woods ( with video)