Committee adopts municipal budget, raise in taxes to come

Taxpayers in Mantua Township can expect to see an average $32 annual increase in municipal taxes.

A new budget was adopted by township committee, and it calls for a raise in taxes as the township seeks to make various improvements with the capital program.

The $15,410,789.14 budget calls for a 1.6-cent tax increase per $100 of assessed home value. For an average home in Mantua assessed at $205,881, this equates to roughly a $32.94 annual increase in taxes.

Township Administrator Jennica Bileci said the increase was largely due to the costs of recycling, debts (a down payment was paid for public works to get five new trash trucks) and contractual wages and salaries.

“We now have to pay to get rid of recyclables instead of selling them and getting a credit,” Bileci said. The township saw a $140,000 increase this year. “One thing we are going to do is educate our residents on how recycling looks now. What they’re used to recycling is not what can be accepted now.”

The raises, however, Bileci added, were largely offset by revenue from sold properties and the Wenonah shared service agreement.

Bileci added the township will be operating with a $790,895.55 capital plan to make improvements including, but not limited to: repaving of several roads, enhancing the parks irrigation system, replacing parking barriers at Chestnut Branch Park and purchasing new playground equipment. In the police department, three new patrol cars will be purchased as well as handguns and simulation training equipment.

“Although we have a tax increase, we do a nice job at providing the best service we can,” she said. “We work closely with our schools, community outreach with our police department, and our public works staff goes the extra mile all of the time.”

Resident Greg Shast spoke during the public hearing to know if the township made money off of the Wenonah police agreement, and wondered where the township invests its taxes if it has a grace period before paying out to the county and school districts.

CFO Gayle Tschopp said the township pays the taxes on the 15th of every fiscal quarter to the county, monthly to the school districts (Mantua and Clearview Regional). She added the township doesn’t make much from investing in the bank and can’t place the taxes in the money market to receive a bigger return.

“For the police department, we received $350,000 and second year is $530,000,” Bileci said. “We’re already increasing on the revenue end of things.”

A copy of the budget is available on the township’s website by visiting www.MantuaTownship.com.

In other news:

  • The police department is seeking qualified applicants for a vacant SLEO Class III officer after an officer left.
  • Det. Sgt. Bert Brucker and Cpl. Jeff Leach retired as of June 30. Chief Darren White said a selection process has already started to fill the open positions.
  • Four of the five trash trucks the township purchased have arrived and are being lettered. Public Works Supervisor Steve Alexander said they should be out on the road with in the next two weeks.
  • The township released a bond held by German-grocer Lidl for a lot on Woodbury-Glassboro Road behind Wendy’s because the project was withdrawn from construction.
  • The Factory at Total Turf entered into a redevelopment agreement with the township for the land next to the building at 568 Lambs Road.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19, beginning at 6 p.m. at 401 Main Street in Mantua.