WESTFIELD, NJ — The owner of the home assessed at the town’s average value of $795,159 is anticipated to pay $2,751.25 in municipal property taxes this year, an annual increase of $55 under the budget approved earlier this week.

When the recently approved school and county budgets are considered, however, the owner of a typical home in the town is anticipated to pay $17,199.29 in total property taxes, an increase of $103.29 over what that homeowner paid last year, a certification of the town budget shows. This is based on a projected total tax rate of $2.163 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The municipal budget, which the town council approved 8-1, was significantly impacted by COVID-19, officials said.

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“This budget reflects significant revenue uncertainty stemming from unknown future tax collection rates and lost revenue from sources like parking, courts, construction, investments and the pool,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle at Tuesday’s virtual Town Council meeting.

Officials noted the town’s spending plan, which does not include employee furloughs or layoffs, may be modified.

“Because the full extent of COVID-19 impact on the 2021 budget is difficult to predict, it must be considered now, and we will need to adapt as the reality of our finances takes shape,” Brindle said.

Council members approved the spending plan 8-1, with Councilman Mark LoGrippo casting the lone dissenting vote. He had voiced his reasons when the council introduced the budget.

“I would feel more comfortable with more of a surplus and doing more of the capital improvements that we’ve talked about,” LoGrippo, the only Republican on the council, then said.

The budget shows the town plans to use $4.5 million in surplus this year, leaving a remaining balance of just over $7 million in surplus. The town’s surplus stood at $11.5 million on Dec. 31, 2019, the budget shows.

Municipal officials have said the town has also reduced capital spending in the 2020 budget by 93% or $1.2 million by eliminating or deferring equipment purchases.

No members of the public spoke on the budget when given the opportunity during a virtual public hearing held Tuesday night.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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