The Harrison Township Committee voted to adopt its 2023 budget at a May 15 meeting after hosting a public hearing on the financial plan.
The budget went into effect on May 16 and amounts to just over $14 million, a 3.9 percent increase from last year.
“A municipal budget, by law, has to be balanced,” said Mayor Louis Manzo. “We don’t have the choice or latitude to say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna spend $2 million or $10 more than what our budget calls for.’ We’re not allowed to do that.
“The anticipated revenues have to be able to cover what we say we’re gonna spend that money on that year.”
The budget doesn’t include a significant capital plan outside of spending money for the public works and police departments. Mullica Hill residents will see a 2-cent increase in taxes with the plan, for a total of 56.1 cents per $100 of assessed value. That means an annual rate increase of $69.54.
The increase results from increased insurance costs, pensions, utilities, fuel and other supplies. Some of the services paid for with tax dollars include public safety and general municipal services.
“That was something we saw as acceptable as an increase,” Manzo noted of the tax hike. “No increase is a good increase, we understand that. We also understand that things don’t remain flat and that there are cost increases every year.
“So, to be able to be in pace with that, from an inflation standpoint, that 2-cent target is what we went into.”
Fifty-four percent of tax revenue goes to Mullica Hill’s school districts, 29 percent to percent Harrison schools and 25 percent to Clearview. Twenty-four percent goes toward the county tax and 17 percent to the municipal tax. The fire district will get 3 percent of revenue and the remaining 2 percent pays for municipal open space.