Mayor: No tax hike in 2020

Council also paves way for budget increases, establishment of cap bank.

At the most recent meeting of township council, Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn revealed that for the eighth straight year – the entire length of his term in office -residents of Cherry Hill would not see an increase in their municipal taxes once the budget for Fiscal Year 2020 is approved. 

“I’m extremely proud to announce, for the eighth year in a row, there will be no increase in our municipal taxes. I know how important this news is to all our residents, and I want to thank council for its help in getting us to this point. Eight years in a row is truly remarkable. And while taxes may not be increasing, our high quality municipal services will be increasing. This year, once again, we have budgeted for continual upgrades for roadways, recreational facilities, historic properties, programming for residents of all ages, technological improvements that improve transparency and allow our township the information at the touch of a button,” Cahn said. 

“Maintaining the character, charm and stability of the township has always been my top priority. I look forward to finalizing this budget in the weeks to come. I’d like to thank all of you for putting your faith in me, as your mayor for the last eight years. It has been truly an honor and a privilege to serve our great community.”

Council passed a resolution introducing the 2020 budget, while also, upon first reading, approving an ordinance allowing for a 3.5-percent increase in appropriations from 2019’s budget and establishing a cap bank.   

According to the ordinance, the state’s Local Government Cap Law allows municipalities to increase budgets from year to year up to 2.5 percent from their final amount, unless a subsequent ordinance allows the increase to reach 3.5 percent. 

Township council “finds it advisable and necessary to increase its SFY budget 2020 by up to 3.5 percent over the previous year’s final appropriations, in the interest of promoting the health and safety and welfare of its citizens,” therefore allowing an increase within its succeeding budget by the amount of 1 percent, a total of $515,186.66, over the final 2020 budget amount plus additional appropriations allowed by the cap law. 

Therefore, the township’s 2020 budget increase, once the ordinance is passed upon second reading and public comment at council’s next meeting on Sept. 9, should have an excess of almost $1.9 million, referred to as a “cap bank.” 

“This is not suggesting the budget is exceeding the cap; it’s actually the opposite – the budget comes in below the cap. Based on New Jersey regulations … this ordinance allows us to bank the differential between the current budget and the maximum cap, so that, in a future year, and in the unlikely event that the budget does need to exceed a certain cap, this amount is banked for potential future use,” said council President David Fleisher. 

“This is absolutely not suggesting the budget is exceeding the cap, and we will see shortly when the budget is released, this is far from a bad thing.”

Fleisher stated that a formal budget hearing would occur at council’s meeting on Sept. 23. 

In other news

  • Council passed a resolution suspending parking regulations on both sides of Cropwell and Kresson roads, excepting areas of both within 250 feet in any direction, of a traffic signal, for the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah falls on Sept. 30-Oct. 1 and Yom Kippur falls on Oct. 9. Both Temple Beth Sholom and Chabad Lubavitch are located in close proximity on those two main thoroughfares. 
  • Multiple residents of the 1100 block of Winding Drive expressed deep concern to council over a house that has hosted multiple parties over the last two years that have caused undue hardship on property owners, including excessive noise, trash, as well as an overflow of people and traffic which has, at times, blocked emergency vehicles from moving through the neighborhood. Council, aware of the issue, vowed to enact legislation to curb what allegedly appeared to be illegal commercial activity on the property.