MIDDLETOWN, NJ – The proposed 2013 municipal budget represents an ongoing commitment to hold a tight rein on spending and make a full recovery from Superstorm Sandy.
The proposed budget the Township Committee introduced Thursday reflects a 2.2 percent tax levy increase and a consistent effort to cut costs without sacrificing core essential government services. The proposed change would cost the average Middletown homeowner about $2.57 per month.
Without the impact of Superstorm Sandy, the tax levy increase would have been 1.14 percent. The total cost of the historic storm is estimated to be about $14 million which the Township is paying off in increments over the next 5 years. FEMA reimbursements are expected to cover about 75% of the storm’s total cost. Sandy’s total impact on the 2013 budget is about $500,000.
“The Township Committee is committed to ensuring Middletown recovers from Superstorm Sandy,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger “We also remain focused on providing essential government services at the most efficient and effective levels. Recent changes to township operations that are generating cost savings include switching to single stream recycling and leasing Croydon Hall to the Trinity School.”
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- As a result of Superstorm Sandy, the proposed 2013 municipal budget appropriation of $66,418,877 represents an increase of 4.38 percent compared to the 2012 appropriation of $63,629,643. Without Hurricane Sandy and Irene, municipal appropriations would have increased .76 percent this year.
- Additional major cost drivers include an increase of more than $1 million in health care costs and state-mandated pension costs. Health care costs are anticipated to increase 8.1 percent this year. The proposed budget also includes a 16.27 percent state-mandated increase in police pension contributions.
- Recycling collection increased by 53% in the last half of 2012 after the Township switched to single-stream recycling. Increased recycling collection has resulted in a 14% decrease in the amount of household garbage collected. Savings are realized since the Township spends less to dispose of solid waste and gains revenue by selling the recyclables.
- Employee health insurance contributions collected this year are expected to increase by 30 percent.
- The Township experiences savings through shared service agreements with other municipalities and the Middletown Board of Education. The most recent shared service agreement is one struck with the Board of Education for field permitting.
- Significant savings in utility bills are also being realized as a result of an energy audit, upgrades to lighting and HVAC systems and purchasing natural gas and electric in aggregate as part of a collective of government agencies. The energy audit and upgrades were funded with grant monies.
- The municipal budget is in full conformance with the state’s cap levy law.
- The Township budget makes up only approximately 21% of the average property tax bill, the remaining portion relates to the school and county tax levies.
- On average, Township levy increases have been lower than Monmouth County and the state in the last decade.
Below you will find a web link for the Budget Presentation (PDF).
Introduced Budget Presentation