JACKSON – The proposed township budget aims to keep services while minimizing a tax bill increase to about $34.61 more residents would pay in municipal taxes.
Business administrator Helene Schlegel introduced Jackson Township’s proposed 2017 operating budget of $42.4 million, a 1.43 percent increase over last year’s budget. The budget is increasing $606,080.66 over last year’s budget.
The tax levy will increase $873,030.67, up 2.82 percent from $30.9 million to $31.8 million.
The average homeowner, whose home is assessed at $326,489, will see a total increase of $34.61 in their municipal taxes. That’s $2.88 per month.
“Our surplus is up and we are using less. We are maintaining township services,” Schlegel wrote to The Jackson Times. “We’ve maintained strong financial ratings from Moody’s (AA2) and saw an uptick in our Standard & Poor’s rating to AA+.”
At his monthly Meet the Mayor, Michael Reina said he is pleased with this budget.
Almost 87 percent of the total municipal budget is funded directly by township taxpayers. Only 8.5 percent comes from commercial properties, a sore point with officials who want ratables to come into town.
Great Adventure is the top taxpayer in town, paying $2.5 million on their $113 million assessed property. The top 10 taxpayers, all businesses in town, pay $7.7 million of the tax levy.
Salary and wages increased $689,069.58, which account for $19.3 million of the total budget. Of that, nearly $12 million is for public safety salaries, or 61.67 percent of the total salary budget.
Other usual items saw an increase:
Retirement plans increased $112,789.41.
Health insurance increased $115,271.
Bond and note interest increased $36,280.29.
Accumulated leave increased $85,000.
Other items saw decreases.
Snow removal decreased $188,000.
Judgements decreased $105,000.
Bond principal decreased $27,000.
Landfill/solid waste costs decreased $40,000.
The overall budget breakdown is:
Salaries and wages, $19,281,325.61.
Other expenses, operational, $11,825,980.42.
Capital Improvements, $110,000.
Deferred Charges, $326.70.
Reserved for uncollected taxes, $2,663,928.58.
The township employs 224 full-time and 61 part-time employees.
The budget hearing will take place at the April 25 council meeting.