SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Under a $33 million municipal budget introduced at the township committee’s March 27 meeting, taxes would increase about $70 on the average home assessed at $160,000. The tax levy would increase to $23,873,306 from $23,393,635, or the 2 percent allowed by the state.
The total budget represents a $1.2 million increase — or 3.9 percent — over the previous year’s municipal spending plan.
While the appropriations number seems high, a lot of spending from the various municipal departments actually went down significantly, according to business administrator Ziad Shehady at the March 27 meeting.
Despite some decreases, one of the biggest issues the finance committee faced this year, Shehady said, was the cost of recycling, which increased by $400,000, or one-third of the overall increase.
The recycling jump is “just the way the market is going,” he said. “We found the lowest possible bidder we could find.”
The police department budget increased nearly 11.2 percent, mostly due to professional development and part-time hires, police Chief John Cook said at the meeting.
“We are looking to add additional personnel to beef up our security with the schools,” he added.
LocalSource reached out to Cook to find out how many part-time employees were hired, but did not receive a response before press time this week.
The township’s highest 10 expenses range from medical insurance and debt service to those related to the library, sewer utility and solid waste, Shehady said. These account for approximately $16 million, almost half of the total budget.
Outside of those items, salary and wages make up $12.4 million.
The municipal budget is only one of three components in a homeowner’s property tax bill, which also includes school and county taxes.
Calling the budget “forward thinking,” Shehady highlighted that there are no reductions in municipal services; staffing levels were maintained; and public safety levels were improved.
A second public budget hearing was presented by Finance Township Committee members Diane Stampoulos and Chris Capodice, and Chief Financial Officer Michael Quick on Saturday, April 7. Quick noted that anticipated town infrastructure improvements will positively impact the township.
The budget is slated for adoption at the April 24 Springfield Township Committee meeting.