Mt. Laurel Township Council passes 2018 municipal budget with no tax increase

The municipal tax rate will remain unchanged from last year’s rate of 34.7 cents per every $100 of assessed property value.

Mt. Laurel Township Council approved the 2018 municipal budget at this week’s council meeting, and as was the case when council introduced the budget last month, this year residents will see no increase for their local municipal tax.

With the budget totaling $38.6 million, residents’ municipal tax rate will remain unchanged from last year’s rate of 34.7 cents per every $100 of assessed property value.

For residents with a home valued at the average assessed rate for 2018 of $237,600, those residents will pay about $832 in municipal property taxes for the year.

That figure will continue to constitute about 12 percent of a resident’s overall tax bill for 2018, with the other 88 percent split among the K-8 school district (estimated at 39 percent), the Lenape Regional High School District (estimated at 24 percent), Burlington County (estimated at 15 percent), the local fire district (estimated at 6 percent) open space funding (estimated at 3 percent) and the Mt. Laurel Library (estimated at 1 percent).

Within that 12 percent of property taxes, officials say the township is able to provide services such as police, animal control services, emergency management services and the Office of Emergency Management.

The township can also provide trash removal and disposal, snow removal and public works services such as street sweeping, pothole repairs and hazardous waste pickup.

Municipal taxes also fund the Mt. Laurel Community Center, maintenance of parks and public property and township events such as Memorial Day, Concerts in the Park, shredding events, Clean-up Day and Santa Comes to Mt. Laurel.

Municipal taxes also fund debt service, utilities, street lighting and more.

Township officials also note that while the total cost of the 2018 budget is a 7.3 percent increase from the township’s 2010 budget, the Bureau of Labor Statistic reports the rate of inflation for that same time period as 14 percent.

“Over the past eight years, our overall budget has increased at half the rate of inflation,” Mayor Rich Van Noord said. “In spite of flat funding from the state for the past eight years, we’ve worked diligently to make sure we protect the taxpayer.”

Van Noord also noted that when looking at the years from 2014 through 2018, the township’s budget only increased 1.5 percent, while Van Noord said the overall inflation rate was 5 percent.

“I believe this shows members of the council have been good stewards of our township finances,” Van Noord said.

Township officials also noted this year’s budget includes the hiring of two new police officers and four part-time EMTs, the new township event of “Movies in the Park” this summer and the promotion of an emergency medical services deputy chief.

“With our fiscal discipline, the council has been able to put the township on sound financial footing,” Deputy Mayor Dennis Riley said. “That, combined with our open space/recreation plan, fair share housing settlement and revaluation of the master plan, shows we have an eye to the future and the quality of life for our residents.”

The full budget is on file with the township, and those interested can also view the budget on the township’s website at www.mountlaurel.com under the “Departments” tab for the township’s Finance Office.