Township Introduces 2004 Municipal Budget; Trimmed From Previous Forecast
The Princeton Township Committee agreed unanimously to introduce its $30.2 million 2004 municipal budget Monday night after a series of discussions regarding the appropriation of various funding.
The increase in the Township municipal tax rate is 4.5 cents, according to Township Administrator James Pascale. After continued wrestling with elevated costs including medical insurance and retirement benefits, as well as costs associated with the new library and the preservation of open space, the Township managed to trim the increase from what had once been forecasted at about six cents.
One cent in the municipal tax rate is equivalent to about $235,000.
Township homeowners should expect to see an increase in property tax as well. The average Township assessed home is valued at $415,111, up from $408,000 in 2003, and the average resident will potentially pay $2,573.69 in municipal tax, or approximately 62 cents to every $100. That figure is an increase of about $207 over last year's $2,366, or 57 cents per every $100.
Mr. Pascale said the number one increase in the budget is the Township's debt service, which manages the town's road resurfacing, land acquisition, and park development programs. It also funds the Department of Public Works and its equipment.
"We will continue to invest in our infrastructure," Mr. Pascale said.
Other increases were attributed to costs incurred by the new municipal complex, road repairs, salaries and benefits, and $56,000 into the Police and Fire retirement system.
The second highest increase is slated for the new $18 million library that is now scheduled to open on Wednesday, April 21. The Township's share of the library operating budget is about $600,000 higher than it has been in previous years.
Mr. Pascale added that remaining factors in the increase were due to the "usual suspects" of salary and wage increases, statutory expenditures, social security and pensions, and liability and medical insurance costs.
In past discussions, a point of urgency for the Committee was the rise in medical insurance costs, which are expected to increase by 12 percent to $149,000. However, Mr. Pascale said these increases are equivalent to similar rises over the past three years.
A public hearing for the municipal budget has been scheduled for Monday, May 10.