Mayor’s Column: 2022 budget

Mayor Nicole Gillespie addresses township’s financial plan

As always, June was an exciting month in Moorestown, with Moorestown Day, the Kayak & Paddleboard Race, our Juneteenth celebration, proms, graduation and more. And (maybe not as much fun, but still exciting) on June 27, council unanimously passed a budget for 2022 with no increase in municipal taxes. Although the public hearing and final vote just happened, we’ve been working on the budget since March. The Township Manager gave a proposed budget to council on March 28, we held two public budget workshops on April 18 and May 9, and we formally introduced the budget on May 23.

This year, just like last year, the average homeowner in Moorestown will pay about $34 per week in municipal taxes, which covers services such as police, road repair and maintenance, trash collection, leaf and brush pickup, snow removal, maintenance of parks, playgrounds and athletic fields, and Parks and Recreation programs and services. And even though many costs are increasing, such as fuel and utilities, we’ve been able to offset those increases with non-tax sources of revenue to keep operations and services at the same level as 2021, without increasing the burden on Moorestown taxpayers.

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Of course, council only has authority to determine the municipal budget, and municipal taxes represent just under 15 percent of your total tax bill. The remainder of your taxes go the schools (about 65 percent, determined by the Board of Education), the county (just over 16 percent, determined by the County Commissioners), the fire district (about 2.3 percent, determined by voters in the February fire election) and the library (about 1.5 percent, determined by state law.)  The exact percentages vary slightly year to year, and we won’t know the 2022 rates until the state certifies our budget and the county tax rate is determined.

As in every year that I’ve been on council, there are always things that we would like to fund but need to put off due to budget constraints. For example, we would love to be able to purchase more property to preserve as open space, build a new softball field and expand some of the other sports facilities, renovate the building that houses Perkins Center for the Arts, extend bike lanes throughout town, repave more roads and replace more old water mains.  The list goes on, but council makes these decisions based on the greatest need and the greatest impact. Sometimes that means putting off popular ideas like new parks or athletic fields so that we can handle something critical, like maintaining the sewer treatment plant, which is less exciting but obviously vitally important to every resident in town.

Please join me in thanking our Township Manager Kevin Aberant, CFO Tom Merchel and all Department Heads and Township staff for their hard work each and every day, and their efforts to cut costs, find new sources of revenue and make sure Moorestonians are getting excellent value for their tax dollars.  The full details of the 2022 budget are available at https://www.moorestown.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/6767/2022-User-Friendly-Budget.

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