South River council introduces $19M municipal budget for 2019

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SOUTH RIVER – The South River Borough Council has introduced a $19.08 million budget to fund the operation of the municipality during 2019.

South River’s 2018 municipal budget totaled $17.83 million, according to Chief Financial Officer Joe Zanga. The total budget has increased by $1.25 million from 2018 to 2019.

Council members introduced the budget on March 25. Mayor John Krenzel said the spending plan will be adopted on May 13.

South River’s residential and commercial property owners will pay a tax levy of $10.02 million to support the 2019 budget. The tax levy in 2018 was $9.57 million, according to Zanga. The tax levy has increased by $450,000 from 2018 to 2019.

Borough officials will use $1.34 million from surplus funds (savings) as revenue in the 2019 budget. That is about $74,000 less than what officials used from surplus funds in the 2018 budget.

South River will receive $825,291 in state aid in 2019 and apply the funds in the budget.

Zanga said increases impacting the budget relate to pension costs, sewage treatment costs and debt service payments.

“Increases relate to the treatment and disposal of sewage, an increase in a bond anticipation note interest rate and an increase in the employer pension contribution rate,” he said.

Zanga said new municipal employees being hired are replacements. He said no one is retiring and not being replaced.

In 2018, the municipal tax rate was $2.331 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in South River was assessed at $81,988. The owner of that home paid about $1,909 in municipal taxes.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate is projected to be $2.443 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in South River is assessed at $82,288. The owner of that home will pay about $2,008 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes South River Public Schools taxes and Middlesex County taxes. The amount of taxes an individual pays is based on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

Capital improvements for 2019 include road improvements, park improvements, sewer and drainage improvements, computer upgrades, improvements to Main Street, and the purchase of a sanitation truck, a backhoe and an electric bucket truck.

Zanga said no municipal departments are being eliminated or consolidated.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.