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Proposed Town Budget Poses About $50 Tax Hike

Administrator said township's expenses for hurricane and October storm mostly to blame for increase.

Under proposed 2012 budget, municipal taxes on the average assessed home of $528,239 will increase by about $50, according to Township Administrator Victor Canning.

The budget was introduced April 10 and a public hearing will be held on it on May 8 at 8 p.m. at the Montville Township Municipal Building before its adoption.

The proposed budget calls for $28,552,951 in appropriations and an anticipated $28,552,951 in revenue, however, Canning said the township had to spend $143,460 on efforts during and after and Canning referred to as "Snowtober."

"We will get reimbursed from (the Federal Emergency Management Agency)," Canning said, however, since the township is not sure when, the cost has impacted the proposed municipal budget. The township can seek reimbursement from FEMA for overtime hours of public safety and Department of Public Works officials, some equipment, supplies and materials.

Something else that has had an effect on the budget, Canning said, are "an excessive amount of tax appeals." Tax appeals are filed when residents or business owners disagree with the taxes they are asked to pay based on the assessments of their homes or businesses. 

Canning noted some positive initiatives the township has undertaken to attempt to keep the budget increase low.

"We're doing lots of things that I don't think (Montville Township Committee members) get credit for," he said.

Canning said the township has not had to lay off employees because they have done so well with attrition. According to the final 2011 budget, the township had 106 full-time employees whereas the proposed 2012 budget includes 96 full-time employees.

The township has also privatized grass-cutting as a way to save money that would otherwise be spent on an employee to complete the service.

"This is working out for the taxpayers of Montville," he said.

The township has used good financial practices, Canning said, which have helped the township achieve an AAA bond rating from Moody's. For the past several years, the township has been working to pay down debt, he said.

"Financially, it's a great accomplishment because there's very few communities in New Jersey that have that financial stability," he said.

The high rating could help the township when it needs to borrow money for projects, although Canning said there is some room in the proposed 2012 budget for capital projects, such as road repairs.

At the meeting where the budget was introduced, committee members discussed Canning said the committee members ultimately decided to budget for four, although the committee is still waiting to receive results from a study of the police department.

"In the end, public safety is paramount to them," he said.

Canning, who is a new employee to the township, said the bulk of the credit for crafting the budget belongs to Interim Township Administrator Adam Brewer and other township employees who had spent a great deal of time on the budget before he arrived.

Les Le Gear April 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM
So what is the new tax rate?
margot April 27, 2012 at 01:18 PM
So what else is new in this town? Read my lips...no more tax increases!!
margot April 27, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I like your site..it is very informative
Cranky old man April 27, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I understand taxes will go up. That's nothing new. Whether or not our administration is working hard to prevent increases or not is a whole other subject. And it’s not fair to make any uninformed decisions. What bothers me is the justification. It's an insult to the intelligence of every Montville citizen. First; after the mildest winter in years (maybe decades) are we to assume the savings from snow plowing, salting, overtime, equipment maintenance and so on, was so insignificant that the two aforementioned events exhausted all those savings PLUS $143,460? Secondly; if the township needs to raise $143,460, $19 per household will do it. Recent statistics have the number of housing units in Montville at 7541. (143,460/7541 = 19.09, Not 50). Thirdly; if this increase is based on the anomalies of two storms in 2011, why is it not a onetime expense? That’s akin to saying “your house needs a new roof this year, so it will need one every year thereafter”. I ‘m not saying the township does not need the money. Montville is a great place to live. If we really need another $143K every year, just say so. State why & move on. If the administration is doing everything it can to keep expenses low, not making foolish decisions and honestly keeping the interests of the citizens of Montville at heart, it has nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Making inadequate excuses for the increase insults every citizen and paints the administration as having something to hide.
margot April 27, 2012 at 03:23 PM
You are so right cranky old man...we didnt have the same snow that we had the year before..And if the township needs money..and who doesnt? then be honest about it. My taxes have doubled in the past ten years living here, as many other have too, but I dont see much in this town that has gone towards them. Sewer charges are outrageous..for what? I know no other towns where the sewer charges are so astronomical. We cant ride this gravy train forever. Let go of more people if need be or freeze salary increases. Stop giving so much over time out. Help the citizens of this township. This drives people out and when real estate taxes are too high, it keeps others from wanting to buy in our town.
jf April 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Margot - great point - my taxes have doubled as well. That being said I would think that my standard of living and what Montville has to offer its residents would have increased as well but I don't see myself living any better today or with more community benefits than I did 10 years ago. Don't get me wrong I do expect tax increases just because costs do go up generally speaking (although according to the BLS the inflation rate has been flat for 3 years in a row - yeah right.) But I think more and more residents at least the ones I have spoken with and especially those who do not have kids are considering a move out of the township because they just can't justify paying Montville taxes. And then when there are fewer residents to bear the financial burden taxes per household will go up even more and more people will move and it becomes a viscious cycle. Can someone tell me where I can get a detailed, line by line budget for the municipality? I would love to see a historical analysis of increases from year to year as well as a column for the new proposed budget just so we can see where the increases are coming from and where there might be an opportunity to cut back. Thanks.
Scott Gallopo April 27, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Great questions. Here is a link to the budget worksheet from our March 27 meeting. The budget hearing will be Tuesday, May 8 at 8pm. Summary from Admin report: Attached, please End revised exhibits for the Current Fund, a revised 6 year capital plan spreadsheet and a summary of changes that have been made to the budget that now show an increase in spending of $89,748 or 32% from 2011 to 2012. This includes a .79% decrease in Other Expenses, a 1.37% increase in Salaries & Wages, and has a corresponding impact of a 2.35% increase on the tax levy: LINK: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.montvillenj.org%2Fdocs%2Ftc%2F120327%2F2012Budget03-27-12.pdf The full budget, which is not easy to read given the format, can be found on the front page of the municipal website: http://www.montvillenj.org/
John April 30, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Scott, Thanks for sharing. Quick question, with health insurance costs on the rise, what was the percentage increase for town employees contributions for that benefit? Did the employee contribution increase cover the overall increase for that line item of $133k?

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