Berlin Borough Council introduces budget for water, open space

Borough residents should expect an average tax increase of $42

Berlin Borough Council hosted its monthly meeting late last week via Zoom, an app that allows for video and audio conference calls during coronavirus social distancing.

During the meeting, council introduced its 2020 General, Water, Sewer and Open
Space Budget, appropriating $9,466,509.86 in general, $3,450,000 in water, $908,600
in sewer and $110,950 in open space.

According to figures provided by councilman Jim Miller, the tax rate is an increase of
.018 from the previous year, going from .760 last year to .778 this year. For the average
assessed home value in Berlin Borough of $233,729.72, residents can expect an tax
increase of of approximately $42.

A public hearing regarding the budget will be held Thursday, May 14, at 7 p.m., with the
meeting either taking place at the municipal building on 59 S. White Horse Pike or via
livestream. Visit www.berlinnj.org to keep up to date with council meeting information.

During its meeting, council passed a resolution authorizing application for Program Year
2020 Recreation Facility Enhancement funding for the Centennial, Orchard and Joan’s
Lane playgrounds. The borough, according to Mayor Rick Miller, applied for three
separate grants worth $25,000 each for improvements that will make the playgrounds
compliant with safety standards.

Council had previously authorized a study last year to evaluate the safety standards of
the three playgrounds in an effort to determine what potential updates and renovations
would have to be made. According to council, the borough awaits funding to determine
the scope of the projects.

Council President Jim Pearce, chairman of the public safety department, addressed
COVID-19 concerns during his council report. Pearce said he speaks daily with both the
chief of police and the Office of Emergency Management Coordinator about how the
borough is handling the pandemic.

“I think the most important thing we’re dealing with right now is this virus and all of our
responses,” he said.

Pearce said a Situational Report is expected to be available for residents to view as an
attachment to the meeting minutes, which can be found on the borough website.

The report details the operations of the Berlin Borough Police Department throughout
the COVID-19 crisis, including its need for Personal Protective Equipment for officers,
as well as the nine COVID-19 cases within Berlin Borough at the time of the meeting.

In other news:

  • Council authorized and approved the Berlin Borough Police Department’s
    participation in the Law Enforcement Support Office 1033 program.
  • A resolution was passed authorizing participation in the Safe and Secure
    Communities Grant for an approximate project cost of $225,960.