By PETE WALTON
Property taxes collected for municipal purposes in Tinton Falls will increase by 2.4 percent in 2018, according to the Borough Council’s proposed budget but the average homeowner, however, will see a decrease in the amount they pay for borough services.
The amount to be raised by local taxes for borough purposes in 2018 will be $15,570,412, according to the proposed budget.
A total of $15,196,681 was raised for 2017, according to a summary of the 2017 budget published on the borough website.
The council will hold its 2018 budget hearing on April 17.
Mayor Vito Perillo, who was elected in November on a platform of fiscal restraint, said he “asked a lot of questions” during the budget process, as did Michael Skudera, the new borough administrator who was nominated by Perillo and hired by the council.
“This budget helps fulfil the mayor’s campaign promises of less taxes and greater transparency,” Skudera said.
Perillo said he was confident that the new administrator and incoming director of law Kevin Starkey would assist him in looking out for the interests of taxpayers.
Starkey was also nominated by Perillo and confirmed by the council. He will officially begin work on April 1.
The current law director, Brian M. Nelson, will continue as special counsel to the borough, focusing mainly on issues related to the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth.
The mayor said he would continue to work on ways to reduce costs.
“My plan is that the next budget will contain no increase,” he said, referring to the amount raised by property taxes for municipal purposes.
A presentation by the council at its March 20 meeting said the 2018 budget includes a 2 percent decrease in the municipal tax rate.
The 2018 rate will be set at 0.488 per $100 of assessed valuation, down from 0.498 in 2017.
“For 2018, a resident with an average assessment of $343,959 will save $34 on their municipal taxes,” the presentation said.
Though local taxes for average homeowners will go down, officials say, the borough is able to reap the benefits of increased commercial and industrial ratables in the municipality.
The value of industrial ratables in Tinton Falls went up by 8.8 percent over 2017, while the commercial ratables total increased 2.41 percent, according to the presentation.
Less than 25 percent of property taxes in 2018 will be used for municipal purposes. The majority of taxes collected, more than 56 percent, will go to school districts. Monmouth County will get nearly 15 percent. Less than 5 percent goes to local fire districts and open space preservation.
According to the council’s presentation, the budget includes funding for road repaving, sidewalk repairs and new sidewalk construction, sanitary sewer pump station upgrades at three locations, and replacement of an automated sanitation truck.
Funding will also be provided for technology upgrades and business process automation, a recreation master plan and park improvements, and upgraded equipment for police, public works and emergency management.
In addition to $500,000 in direct budget appropriations, capital projects will also be funded by more than $400,000 in grants and more than $600,000 from prior bond ordinances.
The budget presentation is available to view on the borough’s website, tintonfalls.com.