HomeMedford NewsProposed budget shows no tax increase

Proposed budget shows no tax increase

Medford Township Council introduced the budget with a zero percent tax levy increase.

Originally, township manager Chris Schultz proposed a budget with a $122 tax increase per average assessed home of $330,013.

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Following Schultz’s presentation, Council made decisions about the budget. According to Schultz, the council used the reserve for uncollected taxes to “get out of the rut.”

“The state allows you to factor in the appeal process and get to your true appeal collection percentage that actually reflects what may be more in line with the historical average rather than the last one to two years,” Schultz said.

Last year’s revaluation cost the township $1.5 million in revenue because of appeals.

“What it does is backs all those numbers out and gives a true number without the appeals. It’s just a methodology of truer accounting of what’s happening in the town rather than what the town is collecting,” Schultz said. “That, combined with some cuts and line items, gave them a zero percent increase.”

The snow trust line item was reworked to accommodate a zero percent increase.

“We have sufficient funds for more normal storms,” Schultz said. “In the event a major storm occurs, the money would be available.”

The snow trust funds are strictly for the needs of a snow emergency. According to Schultz, a bill is currently in circulation at the state level where the funds could be freed from the snow trust in the event of a major storm unrelated to snow, based on the financial challenges multiple towns faced after Hurricane Sandy.

Additionally, township officials reduced the capital improvement down payment.

“Council could borrow any money they can, however, they decided to remove it because they have $35,000 from last year and the year before. Through recalculation, $23,000 was restored for the police overtime,” Schultz said.

The public hearing for the budget is scheduled for April 16.

Tax abatement

Business owners making improvements to their businesses can get tax abatements for the first five years of improvement.

Schultz will be researching surrounding towns’ threshold for consideration for abatement.

Recently, the vacant bank at the corner of Main and Bank streets was purchased by the Pop Shop, originally of Collingswood. In addition, other businesses have shown interest in Main Street and some have made offers on available locations.

“Regardless of what [the businesses] are going to be, the builder is going to be doing major renovations,” Schultz said.

The abatement is an incentive to invest that money back into the business.

Any new value will be phased in 20 percent each year, according to Schultz. The first year, the business will be charged 20 percent, and 40 percent the second year until the business has reached 100 percent taxation.

“The money they’re saving is meant for the business. We hope it will help it grow,” Schultz said.

The abatement is available in the redevelopment zones in the township.

Local Government Institute

Schultz is finalizing locations for the Local Government Institute in the fall during non-council meeting Tuesday nights Sept. 10 until Dec. 1.

According to Schultz, 10 spots are still available, with the application process running until Aug. 30.

“If spots aren’t filled, non-resident business owners can apply to participate if they choose,” Schultz said.

The next township council meeting will be held April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building located at 91 Union St.

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