Clark budget expected to use much of 2 percent cap

CLARK — The township introduced its $20.7 million budget last week, reflecting a 2 percent increase, or $277,435 more than last year.
Although a public hearing and final approval is not until April 15, Township Administrator John Laezza said Tuesday in an interview that the average Clark taxpayer with a home assessed at $100,000 should see a $45 increase in the municipal portion of their tax bill, which will reflect a 4.4 point tax increase.

In 2011, the town had an 8.4 point tax increase.
Every tax point in Clark is set at $72,500 based on the assessed value of property in Clark.

The 2013 school and county tax increases are still being calculated and will be included in taxpayer’s overall three-part tax bill.
The amount to be raised by taxes, Laezza said, is $15.1 million, a reflection of decreasing state aid which this year is expected to be around $1.5 million. However, the township has not heard exactly how much state aid they will be receiving for 2013. Laezza, though, was not worried.

“The budget is within the cap and has accommodated all services without laying off any employees,” he said, adding that employees received a 2 percent increase, other than contractual increases.

The budget included $180,000 in emergency appropriations for Superstorm Sandy, which actually cost the township $500,000 but Clark is expecting $300,000 from FEMA. The township also paid down some debt service.

Laezza said this will be offset by the lower bill from Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority of $196,000. This is the third year in a row that Clark has seen a reduction in sewer use charges. In fact, of all the reductions seen by RVSA member communities, Clark’s was the largest.