Moorestown council unanimously passed the budget it has been focused on since March at its June 27 meeting.
According to Mayor Nicole Gillespie, the average homeowner in Moorestown will still pay about $34 a week in municipal taxes to cover services such as police; road repair; trash collection; and maintenance of parks, playgrounds and athletic fields.
“The big takeaway for most residents is that there’s no increase in the municipal tax,” Gillespie said. “ … We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve been able to maintain services and operations without increasing the tax burden on residents.”
“Part of how we did that is we have some other non-tax sources of revenue coming in …” the mayor added. “When new commercial properties come into town, that helps taxpayers because they take a portion of the tax levy, and that reduces it on others.”
Gillespie noted that even though costs like fuel and utilities are increasing, council has been able to offset that and keep operations and services at the same level as 2021 without higher taxes.
After Township Manager Kevin Aberant offered a proposed budget to council on March 28, two workshops on the financial plan were held on April 18 and May 9.
“The process is, the manager proposes a budget to council (and) we talked about that at the meeting, (and) there were some documents available to the public,” the mayor explained. “But we wanted to really dive in and understand where the money was going (and) how we were using it.”
“So those budget workshops are a chance for council to have discussions, ask questions and for the public to have access to those things before anything is finalized.”
Gillespie noted that council only has authority to determine the municipal budget and municipal taxes represent just under 15 percent of a resident’s total tax bill. Taxes also go to schools (about 65 percent, determined by the board of education), the county (just over 16 percent, determined by county commissioners), the fire district (about 2.3 percent, determined by the February fire election) and the library (about 1.5 percent, determined by state law).
Gillespie explained that exact percentages vary slightly year to year, and the 2022 rates will not be known until the state certifies the township’s budget and the county tax rate is determined. She explained a few key points about the financial plan.
“We didn’t increase municipal taxes and operations are staying the same,” she said. “Our staffing is staying the same across all departments, (and) that’s really important. Most people don’t realize that our staffing is pretty lean. People are doing a lot with not a lot of resources in our township.”
“We’re grateful that we have such great employees,” she added. “They work really hard (and) we want to take care of them, so we’re maintaining operations because we haven’t reduced staffing.”
For more information on the 2022 budget, visit https://www.moorestown.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/6767/2022-User-Friendly-Budget.