Colts Neck committee puts municipal budget in place for 2019

COLTS NECK – Members of the Township Committee have adopted a 2019 budget totaling $12.5 million that will be supported by the collection of $7.85 million in taxes from Colts Neck’s residential and commercial property owners.

The budget was adopted in a unanimous voted by the governing body on April 24. The members of the committee are Mayor Thomas Orgo, Deputy Mayor Frank Rizzuto, Committeeman Michael Viola, Committeeman Russell Macnow and Committeeman J.P. Bartolomeo.

Officials will use $1.6 million from surplus funds (savings) as revenue in the budget. State aid will remain flat at $1.98 million.

Orgo said the 2019 budget is under the permissible tax levy cap and the permissible appropriations cap.

“I thank the towship’s department heads, the Township Committee, commission chairs and our business administrator, Kathleen Capristo, for developing this budget,” he said.

Colts Neck’s 2018 adopted budget totaled $12.29 million. The tax levy was $7.79 million. Total spending is up $210,000 from 2018 to 2019, and the tax levy is up $60,000 from 2018 to 2019.

In 2018, the municipal tax rate was 25.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Colts Neck was assessed at $828,678 and the owner of that home paid $2,138 in municipal taxes.

In 2019, the municipal tax rate is projected to remain at 25.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home is now assessed at $813,700 and the owner of that home will pay $2,099 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Colts Neck K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

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

During the public hearing on the budget, one resident asked the members of the governing body if they could provide a list of roads that will be paved with funding from the 2019 budget.

Municipal officials said they will have a full list of roads available in the future, but said the list would include Bucks Mill Road, Five Points Road and various cul-de-sacs.

Capristo said there was a reduction in the Department of Public Works budget as a result of the reorganization of the department in January, which included the reduction of nine full-time employees. The DPW now has four full-time employees and one part-time employee. Other staff changes include the hiring of two new full-time police officers.

Other changes in the budget mentioned by Capristo were a reduction in the snow budget following a mild 2018-19 winter; a reduction in the legal budget; an increase in recycling costs due to anticipated ongoing increases in disposal costs; an increase to the fire and first aid budgets to cover training for personnel and maintenance to vehicles and equipment; and small increases to debt service, insurance and pension costs.

A budget document provided by the township provides additional information, including the following: Colts Neck has 3,755 parcels, of which 3,122 are residential, 459 are farms and 71 are commercial; the average ratio (%), assessed to true value, is 98.22% and reflects the fact that properties are assessed at almost 100% of their market value; Colts Neck has 41 full-time employees (22 police officers) and 85 part-time employees; and total personnel costs for 2019 will be $6.153 million (approximately 49.2% of the budget).

The municipality has shared services agreements with Monmouth County (police dispatch, vehicle repairs/maintenance and tree removal) and with the Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education (gasoline, snow plowing and mowing/maintenance of fields), according to the budget document.

In addition to municipal taxes, Colts Neck charges each property owner an open space tax of 1.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $813,7000 will pay about $97 in open space taxes in 2019.

Officials said the open space tax will generate $365,340 to be used for the acquisition and preservation of open space parcels.