Borough Budget passed with no property tax increase for Haddonfield residents

Despite continuing to make capital improvements, Haddonfield residents will not face a property tax increase this year.

Borough commissioners last week adopted the 2017 municipal budget with no property tax increase for residents. For the median assessed property of $488,481, the annual property tax will remain flat at about $2,400. Borough services include police, fire, ambulance, library, trash, snow removal, salaries, debt service and other expenses.

“While we have a slight increase in appropriations over last year, I am pleased that we will not raise the property tax to collect revenues in 2017,” Mayor Jeffrey Kasko said.

Total appropriations are $17.16 million of which $10.38 million will be collected through property taxes. For the sixth year in a row, the borough expects flat state funding.

Kasko said previously property taxes were able to remain flat this year as the result of other revenue streams as well as a slight increase in the total number of ratables, which brings in more property tax dollars at the same tax rate as last year.

Commissioner Neal Rochford said New Jersey is a “tough environment” for taxpayers, and the commissioners have worked hard in recent years to keep tax increases as low as possible. Over the last four years, there has only been one property tax increase, which was last year with an increase of less than 2 percent, Rochford said.

Commissioners emphasized that despite a level tax rate, they will continue to make capital improvements.

“We do not defer maintenance,” Rochford said.

Kasko echoed Rochford’s sentiments, saying he was pleased the borough can continue to deliver the same services while making improvements to leaf collection, replacing fallen shade trees and investing in roads, fields, facilities and equipment.

Items in the capital budget, including public works equipment, police equipment and recreation improvements, will be funded by the 2017 bond ordinance.

Equipment to make capital improvements was also a topic of discussion for the commissioners, who authorized bids on a new street sweeper and “leafer,” which picks up leaves and branches.

Commissioner John Moscatelli also discussed improvements to Centennial Courts, which he said are in need of repairs to courts, fences and drainage. The commissioners authorized sealed bids for funding to undertake those repairs.

“We are making a commitment — as both commissioners and I said — to making investments in proper equipment and fields and facilities,” Kasko said.

The next commissioners meeting will take place on April 25 at Borough Hall.