The Maplewood Township Committee adopted a $43.6 million 2017 budget on April 18 by a vote of 5-0, in a swift hearing during which no members of the public commented on the budget.
The budget will raise the levy on municipal taxes by around 2% over 2016 — meeting the State-mandated 2% cap, and foregoing the potential to use any allowances for banked cap. The budget is a little over 4% higher than last year, which is largely due to increases in pension payments, debt payments and reserve for uncollected taxes, Mayor Vic DeLuca said at the budget’s introduction at the Township Committee meeting on March 21.
Other than that, the rest of the budget is “mostly flat,” said DeLuca in March. DeLuca noted the township worked “very hard” to keep increases down despite an increase in certain expenses such as salaries, and the cost of gas and oil — which represented roughly $1 million.
The amount to be raised from property taxes is $29.7 million, which translates to roughly a $75 annual increase for the average household (or $3,825).
Maplewood readers should note that municipal taxes count for about a quarter of your local tax bill, with the school district tax levy making up 60% or more and Essex County around 15%.
Read about the School District’s 2017/18 budget, which includes an overall tax levy increase of 3.56%, here, here, here and here. Read about the County’s 2017 budget, which includes a tax levy increase of 1.5%, here.
DeLuca expressed disappointment that the township would not be collecting any revenue from the Avalon Bay development this year, as was expected. Since the complex was damaged in a fire a few months ago, that revenue will not be available to the town until next year.
DeLuca warned about the sustainability of Maplewood’s finances. While the township was currently “in good shape” financially, the increase in naturally occurring expenses meant that the town had to find more money this year by using its reserve and through other methods.
“At some point that well is going to dry up and we have to be careful that we don’t create an imbalance.” He reminded listeners about 2009, when the town had to reduce employees to meet its budget.
The 75-page budget that was introduced on March 21 is available on the Maplewood Township website here: https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/2650. According to Township Administrator Joseph Manning, the budget as adopted will be uploaded to the website on April 19; however, “there is no difference between the two.”