Home • Gloucester County News Committee approves budget with – again – no property tax hike

Committee approves budget with – again – no property tax hike

Joseph Metz/The Sun
Township Business Administrator Jennica Bileci explains details of the financial plan at a June 10 committee meeting.

The Mantua Township Committee presented – then unanimously approved – a 2024 municipal budget at its June 10 meeting.

This year’s budget totals $16,887,044, according to Township Business Administrator Jennica Bileci’s presentation, a decrease of about $800,000 from last year. There is no local tax increase in the plan.

“The spending plan that we have in front of you tonight will allow us to continue all of our operations,” she explained, “maintaining all of our services and programs that we offer to our residents and businesses that we offer within the township with no local tax increase.”

This is the fourth time in a decade the Mantua budget has had a 0% tax increase, according to the presentation. The average municipal tax increase rate from 2014 to 2024 was said to be 1.39%.

The township’s credit rating – provided to Bileci by S&P Global Ratings – went from AA negative to a AA positive, what S&P classifies on its website as a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.”

“We’re really excited about that,” Bileci noted. “It really shows the strength of our community, the strength of our financials, as well as a stable financial profile. What that means for the residents in the town is that we’re able to bond at a lower rating and we’re able to save taxpayers money.”

This year’s financial plan did see revenue lost due to the end of federal ARP (American Rescue Plan) funds and losses in grant money.

“Obviously we want our revenues to go up,” Bileci acknowledged. “We don’t want them to be going down, but unfortunately a lot of our revenues have been going down, such as our local revenue, and those are our fees, permits, anything like that.”

Despite those losses, the budget shows a $107,000 increase on interest in investments and deposits, $130,000 made from the sales of foreclosed properties and $64,000 from state aid.

A public hearing for the budget had no participants, allowing for its committee passage.

“We control 20% of the tax bills that are sent out by the municipality,” said Mayor Robert Zimmerman. “We’ve done our due diligence here with the administrator, the department heads – they do more with less. We’ve really wiggled things down and tightened the belt so that we have no increase, and in actuality, it’s closer to four years in a row.

“In ’21 and ’22, there was nothing,” he added, “and last year, it was very minimal, just to pay our bills. The last four years have been very tight budgets and it’s a credit to all the staff here, all their hard work, and the township committee for digging their heels in and demanding we keep things tight.”

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