CLARK, NJ — Municipal taxes will increase by $41 for the average home assessed at $121,000 under the the township’s newly adopted $23 million budget.
“This is a nominal increase,” business administrator John Laezza said. “The prior year’s tax increase was due to a major tax appeals in excess of $1 million, which raised it.”
Last year’s taxes spiked by $226.27 per average home, roughly five times this year’s increase.
With the mayor and council’s adoption of the municipal budget at an April 2 special meeting, the tax levy increases by 2.2 percent, to $17,224,416 from $16,853,439, substantially lower than the 8.6 percent increase of the previous year.
While the total budget increased by 3.36 percent, the township stayed below the state-mandated 2 percent cap as certain expenditures are exempted under state law, Laezza said. With exemptions regarding health benefits, reserve for uncollected taxes, debt and other appropriations, the township remained under the limit.
“Exemptions bring the overall expenditures below the cap minimum,” Laezza explained.
Non-tax revenue will total nearly $5 million, consisting of state aid, surplus from last year’s budget and local sources, which comes from various items such as permits, fees and licenses.
Councilman Patrick O’Connor, of Ward 2, read updates of the township’s finances prior to the budget’s adoption. This year’s assessed value of all taxable properties in the township is $762 million, and the equalized values of all taxable properties is approximately $2 billion, O’Connor said.
“What this tells us, is that Clark Township is a $2.7 billion dollar corporation that we maintain for each of you,” he said.
“Also, we paid $143,000 of property tax appeals, which is substantially less than last year,” O’Connor said of last year’s appeal cases, which contributed to the 2017 municipal tax hike.
Thanking the mayor and business administrator for putting the budget together, 4th Ward Councilman Brian Toal said, “this budget has a less impact on the residents.”
“We want to make sure that this town is running functionally, safely, and that our community is green, safe, historic,” he added. “This budget allows us to maintain that, and provide that for you.”