JACKSON –The governing body unanimously voted to adopt this year’s $54.65 million municipal spending plan following a public hearing.
The total spending is increasing by more than $5 million this year. However, officials are using surplus from last year’s budget so that the amount to be raised in taxes will increase by about half a million.
Business Administrator Terence Wall said last year’s budget revenues had exceeded estimates by more than $2.5 million.
Last year, the governing body adopted a $49.37 million spending plan that was supported partially by the collection of $34.26 million in taxes from the residential and commercial property owners of Jackson.
Officials used $5.95 million from Jackson’s surplus fund as revenue in the budget. This year, a $54.65 million budget was introduced that will be supported in part by the collection of $34.64 million in taxes from Jackson’s residential and commercial property owners.
Officials will use $9.17 million from the township’s savings as revenue in the budget. The remainder of the budget will be funded from other revenue sources.
The 2021 municipal tax rate in Jackson was 50.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $329,181 and the owner of that home paid about $1,652 in municipal taxes.
In contrast, this year, Jackson’s municipal tax rate is projected to be 50 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home is now assessed at $329,861 and the owner of that home will pay about $1,649 in municipal taxes.
During the hearing officials said $23.5 million of the $54.65 million budget was earmarked for salaries and wages.
Wall had said that the township’s department heads request only what they need to operate and not make requests that later have to be dropped.
Wall reminded residents that municipal taxes are only part of a resident’s tax bill and that the total the property owner’s tax bill includes school district taxes and Ocean County taxes. Another factor of the total amount of property taxes a homeowner pays is determined by the assessed value of their home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.
This budget will fund all of the operations of Jackson, including its Police Department, the Department of Public Works, government administration, employee health benefits, insurance, payments to employee pension funds and debt payments and other items.
“Congratulations on a really great budget,” resident Sheldon Hofstein said during the public hearing.
“Thank you for your input,” Wall responded.
Councilman Nino Borrelli thanked Wall for his work on the budget. “It is a solid and responsible plan that I proudly support. It maintains services while increasing our police force while cutting the current municipal tax rate. It is amazing and to pay cash for capital projects like needed construction and for parks instead of having to bond for it. It illustrates that Jackson is in a strong financial position.”
“Our town also has an excellent bond rating, AA+ too, so if we needed to bond or borrow money, we would have very good rates. One thing I’d like to see though is our commercial property percentage go up into the double digits. Right now, it is at 8.66 percent,” the councilman added.
Councilman Borrelli explained, “commercial development brings in jobs and revenue to help municipal budgets stable so overall we are fortunate and blessed in Jackson.”
Resident Joseph Sullivan thanked Council Vice President Andrew Kern “for looking out for those who are disabled. As someone who does have a disability, I am always grateful to hear you bring up things like restrooms for those who are disabled and making sure they are maintained.”
This was in reference to a resolution that was later approved for a contract involving services for portable restrooms at various locations in Jackson Township.
“I also want to applaud you for getting cameras for our police officers because as we find when a police officer has a camera, nine times out of 10, someone who is accusing a police officer of wrongdoing is proven that they did not do anything wrong and the camera proves the police officer innocent. I want to thank you for providing for that,” Sullivan added.
Sullivan was referencing the purchase of a dozen body worn cameras from for the police department which was part of a resolution authorizing the $60,645.19 contract.
Also approved was a contract for landscape and maintenance services in various locations within the community.