Mt. Laurel Township Council approves final adoption of 2017 Municipal Budget

The budget includes a slight tax increase of .005 cents, raising the municipal tax rate per $100 of assessed value to 34.7 cents.

Mt. Laurel Township Council used its meeting last night to hold the public hearing and final adoption for the 2017 municipal budget.

With total appropriations reaching $38.7 million, the budget includes a slight tax increase of .005 cents, which raises the local municipal tax rate half a penny from 34.2 cents per $100 of assessed value in 2016 to 34.7 cents per $100 of assessed value in 2017.

With the increase, Mt. Laurel residents with an average-assessed home valued at $237,700 can expect to pay about an additional $12 in municipal taxes this year, bringing municipal taxes for the average-assessed home to $824.84, which is up from $812.18 in 2016.

“What that means is that it’s (the local municipal tax levy) less than a penny increase this year, so its $12 for the average-assessed house for 2017,” said acting Mt. Laurel Township manager Meredith Tomczyk during a presentation on budget.

Tomczyk said the township estimates that overall taxes for the average-assessed home in Mt. Laurel will reach $6,684.75 for 2017, but as she and several township officials pointed out at the meeting, only about 12 percent of that figure goes to the township.

According to Tomczyk, about $2,590 or 39 percent of property taxes goes to the local K-8 school district; $1,629 or 24 percent goes to the Lenape Regional High School District; $987 or 15 percent goes to Burlington County; $378 or 5.7 percent goes to the local fire district; $190 or 3 percent goes to open space funding; and $86 or 1.3 percent goes to the Mt. Laurel Library.

Tomczyk also detailed how the 12 percent of a homeowner’s overall property tax bill that goes to the municipality includes services such as police and animal control, EMS and the Office of Emergency Management, trash removal and disposal, snow removal, township administration, running the local community center, maintenance of parks and public property, township events (Memorial Day, concerts, the visit from Santa, etc.) and public works services such as street sweeping, pothole repairs and hazardous waste removal.

After Tomczyk’s presentation, Mt. Laurel deputy mayor Rich Van Noord noted that from his calculations, Mt. Laurel’s budgets have increased only about 5 percent since 2012, versus an inflation rate of about 6.5 percent during that same time.

“We’re well below the rate of inflation for that period of time, so it just proves that this council and Meredith and her staff are good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” Van Noord said.

Mayor Dennis Riley also thanked Tomczyk and her staff for their work on the 2017 budget, as well thanking the people of Mt. Laurel.

“It is you, the people, who support this government and this township,” Riley said.

There were no comments or questions from the public during the portion of the meeting set aside for the public hearing regarding the budget.