Fair Haven council members introduce $9.4 million municipal budget

FAIR HAVEN – Officials in Fair Haven have introduced a $9.4 million budget to fund the operation of the municipality during 2019.

During a meeting on April 8, Borough Council President Jonathan Peter, Councilwoman Jacqueline Rice, Councilwoman Elizabeth Koch and Councilman James Banahan voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the budget.

Councilwoman Susan A. Sorensen and Councilman Christopher Rodriguez were absent.

Council members did not ask questions about or make comments on the tentative municipal budget prior to voting to introduce the spending plan.

The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the budget on May 13.

Residents may comment on and ask questions about the budget at that time. The council may adopt the budget following the public hearing.

“There was a lot of hard work put into creating the budget,” Borough Administrator Theresa S. Casagrande told members of the public on April 8.

Casagrande said the 2019 budget is $305,135 less than the 2018 spending plan, which totaled $9.71 million.

The 2019 budget totals $9.4 million and will be supported through the collection of $6.59 million in taxes from Fair Haven’s residential and commercial property owners.

The 2019 tax levy represents a $105,363 increase from the 2018 tax levy, which totaled $6.49 million, Casagrande said.

“In anticipation for our upcoming bid for trash collection and the change in recycling disposal, this did increase both our solid waste contractual reclamation fee budget lines by 15%,” Casagrande said. “We are scheduled to open our trash bid on April 25.

“ … Our health benefits line has been reduced this year based on the reduction to the retired premium in state health benefits … Our employer contribution to the (Public Employees Retirement System) is up by 7.75%. Our employer contribution to the (Police and Firemen’s Retirement System) is up 12.1%” she said.

Casagrande said the municipality anticipates $325,000 will go toward capital improvements. She said the capital improvement fund has a balance of $256,867.

“That balance is the amount of the down payment for what was authorized in 2019. We have additional money in there should there be any additional capital authorizations,” she said.

In 2018, Fair Haven’s municipal tax rate was 37.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough was assessed at $809,400 and the owner of that home paid about $3,051 in municipal taxes in 2018.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate is projected to be 36.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough is now assessed at $843,040 and the owner of that home will pay about $3,111 in municipal taxes this year.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill. Fair Haven property owners also pay school taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

The amount a resident pays in property taxes is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property, and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

According to the 2019 tentative budget, significant appropriations include operating salaries and wages, $3.03 million; other expenses, $3.7 million; debt service, $1 million; and a reserve for uncollected taxes, $525,000.