After months of working their way out of a large budget hole, Holmdel Township officials have emerged with a new $21.1 million balanced budget that includes a higher tax levy, but no sale of public land.
The municipal tax rate will increase 3.2 cents, to 34.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, said Township Committeeman Joseph Ponisi Sr., a member of the Budget and Finance Committee. Under Holmdel's new plan, the owner of house assessed at $617,061 -- the township's average -- will pay $2,116 in municipal taxes, up from $1,919. For that homeowner, it represents a 10 percent increase, or $197 more than last year.
Ponisi said the township is cleaning up its burdensome debt by refunding outstanding bonds while interest rates are temptingly low. "We're taking an aggressive stance that will save us money over the course of many years," he said, giving credit to Township Administrator Andy Katz and Township CFO Jeanette Larrison.
Municipal taxes are just one portion of the total property tax bill. Last year, the municipal tax accounted for about 16% of the Holmdel homeowner's property tax bill. School taxes, which comprised 66% of the tax bill, will also increase, the Board of Education announced in March. The same owner of a home assessed at the township average will pay $92 more a year in school tax.
The county tax rate, which represented 9 percent of the total tax bill, has not yet been determined for Holmdel property owners. The remaining 9 percent of the homeowner's tax bill is made up of obligations to County Library, County Open Space, and Municipal Open Space.
A vote to adopt the budget passed 4 to 1. Committeeman Larry Fink, the other member of the Budget and Finance Committee, repeated his concerns that the budget was not ambitious enough in controlling costs when it came to salary and wages in the police department, employee health plan contributions and worker overtime. The sole Democrat among four Republicans, he voted against adopting the spending plan.
See The 2012 Holmdel Township Budget: How Tax Dollars Will Be Spent for more details on the township budget presentation.