Livingston Presents 2012 Proposed Budget

Residents may face a 1.7 percent municipal tax rate hike in proposed budget.

The Livingston Township Council introduced a $44.2 million 2012-2013 budget at Monday night’s council meeting. 

The budget represents a 1.79 percent increase, or $51,000, over the current budget, according to township Chief Financial Officer William Nadolny.

Under the proposed budget, no service cutoffs, layoffs, or furloughs are planned, Nadolny said.

The $51,000 increase, he said, is a result of miscellaneous fees, permits, investment interest, high sales from recycling material and the municipal occupancy tax, according to Township Manager Michelle Meade.

Nadolny broke down the tax increase as follows: A 0.19 percent increase in the tax rate for municipal operations and 1.6 percent increase for a loss of ratables. 

The average home, assessed at $601,887 in the township, would see a tax increase of $43.20 per $100,000 of assessed valuation or a tax hike from $2,412 to $2,456. 

The proposed budget will be sent to the state for approval and then back to the township for approval at the May 7 council meeting.

Meade also broke down the budget, saying it:

• will include $1.1 million for tax appeal refunds
• will include $300,000 to fund emergency appropriations connected to the October snowstorm. Those expenses would be offset by township reserves and FEMA funding, she said. 
• will preserve all municipal services
• is $1.1 million below the state's 2 percent tax levy cap

The biggest challenge the township faced was the impact of tax appeals, Meade said, and most of the tax rate increase is connected to lower municipal assessments.

In recent years, the township had to borrow more than $8 million to pay tax appeal refunds, Meade said, and the 2012 proposed budget includes $792,486 of new debt service for tax appeal notes issued in 2011.  

After the meeting, Councilmember Gary Schneiderman praised Meade and her team for doing an outstanding job in creating the budget. 

Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro said she thought the budget could be trimmed even further and she thinks there are some proposals that could be postponed - such as spending about $500,000 for fields - or cut - such as purchasing a new van for IT use.

"I think we go back and keep honing (the budget)," Shapiro said. "There's a lot of challenges and the manager does a great job. Let's get everything a little lower." 

A public hearing on the proposed 2012 municipal budget will be held 8 p.m. May 7 in town hall. For more information, visit the township's website.


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