Tax Increase Proposed in Hightstown Budget Introduction
The budget allocates for two additional police officers.
Hightstown council members introduced a budget Monday calling for a $72 tax increase on the average assessed house in the Borough.
The average residential property is assessed at $266,798.
“I’m satisfied we were able to have a relatively small increase this year,” said Mayor Steven Kirson.
The majority of the 1.58 percent tax levy increase comes from contracted health benefits, raises under union contracts, loss of revenue from the Cranbury 9-1-1 contract, the allocation for two new hires in the police department and a decrease in property value, according to Borough Administrator Michael Theokas. No expenses from Hurricane Irene are in this year’s budget.
The budget allocates $100,000 for two additional police officers, and overtime costs were reduced from $175,000 to $125,000, Theokas said. There was also a $43,000 loss of revenue from the shared services contract with Cranbury police’s 9-1-1 dispatch.
Police Director James Le Tellier said he also expects a retirement in the police department at the end of the year.
Theokas said, like other towns, Hightstown is seeing a substantial amount of money not being returned from the state from Energy Tax Receipts.
“I think it’s a fiscally responsible budget,” Theokas said, noting there will be the same level of services provided to residents. “If it snows we’re going to plow, and the garbage will be picked up.”
The 2012 total operating budget is $6.6 million, compared to the 2011 budget that came in at around $6.3 million.
The public hearing on the 2012 budget will be held May 21.