Stafford Budget Might See Increase

Stafford Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

STAFFORD – If the budget that was introduced is approved at the end of the month, the average resident in town would see an increase of about $41.70 in municipal taxes.

The total budget would be $45,683,229, up $1,386,367 from last year’s $44,296,862.

The amount to be raised by taxes would be $35,147,639, up $1,091,702 from last year’s $34,055,937.

The tax rate would be 90.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 1.6 cents from last year’s 88.5 cents. For the average home, valued at $260,597, a resident would see an increase of $41.70 in municipal taxes.

Business Administrator James Moran noted that since 2012, the tax rate has increased a total of 2.7 cents.

There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that there are more ratables coming onto the tax rolls every year. Superstorm Sandy took out a large chunk in 2012. As they’ve been rebuilding, and other development has been done, there are more properties to share the tax burden.

For example, ratables increased by $50 million in the last year. That means that $50 million worth of property value was added to the township. This spreads out the tax liability.

  “We took good care to watch our spending and at the same time build up the tax base,” he said. “Most of my departments are less today in 2017 than in 2009.”

Approximately one third of the budget is made up of salaries and wages. This item increased by $656,062 from last year to $18,258,900.

The State Health Benefits Plan had a modest increase this year, he said, but the overall cost of insurance and benefits combined reduced from last year to this year by $318,911.

The law requiring public employees to pay a certain percentage of their salaries into their health insurance is sunsetting, and so that is up for negotiation.

The budget was introduced at the March 28 Township Council meeting.

The public hearing on the budget will be at the April 25 meeting, held at 7 p.m. in the municipal building at 260 East Bay Avenue.