Each year school districts, municipal governing bodies, and county governing bodies submit their adopted budgets to the County Tax Boards outlining their budgetary requirements. The various levies are totaled to represent the “amount to be raised by taxation” for each taxing jurisdiction.
The 2013 Municipal Budget of $19.3 million with its tax levy of $15,784,067 shows a tax increase of $47 per year for a house assessed at the new average assessment of $321,339.
In order to meet the costs of the special and unanticipated capital projects included in the 2013 capital portion of the budget, the borough will need to exceed the 2 percent cap in order to fund the projects.
Local governments can circumvent the 2.5 percent cap on municipal budget increases if an ordinance is adopted establishing a 'cap' bank. The passage of the ordinance permits the governing body, in certain situations, to increase its budget in an amount not to exceed 3.5 percent of the preceding year’s appropriations level.
The law establishes that the 'cap' can be exceeded without having to go to the public for a vote if a town needs to meet certain capital expenditures, including debt service, or if there is an increase in pension contributions or health care costs.
Included in capital expenditures, are the following special projects totaling $4,002,500:
- Hirschfeld Brook Flood Mitigation: $1.4 million
- NMFD Co. 1 Firehouse Renovation: $736,000
- NMFD Co. 2 Firehouse Renovation: $1,666,500
- NMPD Headquarters Design: $200,000
The New Milford Board of Education approved its $32.3 million 2013-14 budget with its $28.5 million tax levy that will increase the average homeowner's tax bill by $146 per year for a house assessed at $321,339. Because the budget did not exceed the 2 percent cap on the tax levy, the budget did not have to go to the public for approval.
"That's pretty much in line with last year," Business Administrator Michael Sawicz said. "It equals out to a $36.62 increase per quarter."
For the 2013-14 school year, New Milford however Sawicz stated that the district must return $61,000 to Trenton for the Schools Development Authority's (SDA) for the second year in a row. According to Sawicz when the district performed several renovations a few years ago the district received state funding towards the projects but is now being required to reimburse the state as it pays off the issued bonds.
On Tuesday, the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced a $498 million budget that works out to an average tax increase of $24.63 per year on an average home assessed at $324,200.
For the New Milford homeowner, those increases add up to an annual tax increase of approximately $217.63 on a house assessed at $321,339.