LACEY – The Township Committee introduced their tentative municipal budget for this year during a recent meeting. It comes with an increase.
The average tax payer would pay, based on the average assessed home in Lacey, an annual increase of $125 or $10.41 per month.
General appropriations is $33,615,670. Towns set aside a reserve for uncollected taxes, extra money raised based on a estimation of people who don’t pay. This is $1,365,862, bringing the total budget to $34,981,532.
The amount to be raised to support the municipal budget $17,550,329.
This only accounts for the municipal portion of a property owner’s tax bill and not the school district, the Ocean County portion of the bill, or other taxes.
“In regards to the budget we are introducing it on time and within the allowable tax. Notable increases in the budget are unfortunately (garbage) collection, pension obligations and a pay down on our debt services this year. Those are the notable changes in the budget this year,” Township Business Administrator/Clerk Veronica Laureigh said.
The average assessed home in the township is valued at $275,000. The proposed tax levy this year is going from .399 to .444 – an increase of 1.34%. Another complication beyond the costs mentioned by Laureigh is a mandate from Governor Phil Murphy’s administration requiring body cameras for municipal police departments. For Lacey Township that means some additional cost.
Laureigh told The Southern Ocean Times, “we had purchased through community donations the cameras two years ago. In order to cover all required personnel in the department we need to order about 15 more cameras. We just recently applied to the State for the grant to hopefully receive funding.”
The five-member governing body voted unanimously to approve the introduction of the budget. The next vote, to confirm it, will be May 13 at 6:30 p.m. in town hall, Laureigh said.
In a routine matter the Committee voted prior to the budget introduction to approve the establishment of a cap bank to cover any emergency expenditures until the budget is approved. This is part of the normal budget process each year.
A contract with Motorola for emergency radio communications was also approved that involves wireless communications and electronics which Laureigh explained was to bring the police department up to the 700-megahertz system in addition to finishing the Bamber Fire Company, the Dive Team and other emergency service squads. “The contract is for $1,271,742.80.”
A grant agreement with the county for the township’s Municipal Drug Alliance program for funding through July 1 to June 30, 2022 is $12,153.
Water Tower And Roads
Deputy Mayor Nicholas Juliano spoke about public questions pertaining to a water tower in the township and the Lacey Municipal Utilities Authority. “With the bad weather all winter long, it is a little bit behind schedule but it should be painted and done by May 1. The bad weather put us behind schedule.
“I want to commend the MUA. They did a great job down at the power plant where there is a lot of piping. The MUA is hooking up a 12-inch main that will go right on down to possibly tie in water to Waretown. Waretown is in dire need of water and the water we have here is sufficient to supply it,” the deputy mayor said.
He added “They did that in-house and they saved $328,000.”
He also asked township drivers to slow down as there has been construction around the township. “I know it is a pain around Route 9 but I’ve seen some people flying by and there are workers out there – our police officers are out there – so please respect them they are trying to do the job as fast as they can.”
“Thank you for shopping local in Lacey Township here and please keep on shopping in our stores and restaurants here in town. I see some of the restaurants are getting a little more crowded and stores are doing what they can to stay afloat,” Juliano added.