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Holmdel Township Adopts $21M Budget; Includes Tax Hike

...But its not as bad as it could have been, say officials. The hard-fought spending plan is under cap, aggressive on debt, and does not include the sale of public land.

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.

pete May 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Larry Fink is right we need to reign in these salaries. We are so top heavy in the police department which needs to be corrected. No reason to have so many chiefs making over $100k in this town. Sure the town is safe and we can attribute some of that to the police but the town is safe because the township residents are solid people. I am not against the police (both brother-in-laws are NYPD and father was on the job for 35+ years) but those salaries are crazy and way more than the NYPD guys make and they are in many more dangerous situations every day. There is no doubt it my mind we will get hit with another tax increase next year. This year $400, next year will be at least half that which will be celebrated but thats $600 for no change in what we get. thats a 5% increase.
dan May 18, 2012 at 02:37 PM
another big holmdel joke, CUT and SLASH the public sector and sell the land as long as not used for housing if anyone wants to save the land , tell them to put up the money.
dan May 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM
between the school system and its bloated pensions and benefits and the other municipal blood sucking that goes on, homeowners are like fish in the barrell, Everyone's always doing their 'best' but the homeowner foots the bill for the corruption
Mike Simpson May 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
One item that you will NOT see in the budget are salaries for Fire and First Aid coverage - why? Because they all are volunteers - and thank goodness for the fact that we have so many dedicated residents who are willing to give up so much to provide this protection 24/7/365. However, it's perhaps worthwhile pointing out that invariably the first to arrive at these incidents are the Police and perhaps the following questions are worth pondering... How many times have members of the PD initiated and maintained CPR until our volunteers arrive? How many times have small fires been prevented from becoming large fires by members of the PD until our volunteers arrive? The level of protection of life and property against ALL hazards in this town is something that we should all be proud of and our PD is a is a major force in providing that protection. Add in the value of the protection provided by our volunteers and I suspect the total is a bargain? This isn't NY City - thank goodness.... (Opinions are my own!!)
pete May 18, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Mike, i have served as EMT prior to moving to Holmdel and spent 5+ years in the Army. I understand and get "service". It is necessary and our town does a great job of it. Point is not to get rid of police rather it is too make us less top heavy. get rid of a sergeant making $125,000 and replace him with a young patrolman who makes $60-70k. or even better you could actually get 2 police officers for that price. point is we should not have a 3 to 1 ratio of leader to patrolman. 7-9 per seargeant would be a better ratio. its overkill and a waste of taxpayer money (yours and mine).
Mike Simpson May 18, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Just a thought - I wonder if anyone has ever calculated the total cost per taxpayer (including commercial) of providing PD, Fire and First Aid services on an annual basis in town?. And then adjust that figure to include other users of services including schools, religious institutions, non-profits etc? Again - just a thought!!
pete May 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
unfortunately its irrelevant since fire and the blue lighters are volunteer and have no cost basis. do the cops do a lot? sure they do, but thats there job, thats what they get paid for. just get rid of the chiefs and replace them with younger patrolman. that is an answer but it is just one answer. Just like companies cut when needed, we need to do the same. enjoy the weekend all.
Mike Simpson May 18, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Just wondering what happens when "younger" patrolmen become "older" patrolmen? Do we then fire the "older" ones because they are not "young" enough??? :-)
pete May 18, 2012 at 04:59 PM
its called balancing your workforce. it becomes painful when you let it get too out of hand and dont deal with it for a number of years, if anything it will only get worse, its not about age, its about salary and what this town needs. we dont need 5+ police sergeants and above making over $110k a year. thats not even counting the time off we will owe these guys once they retire/resign. thats going to be some big payout and where would one expect those payouts to come from. yep the taxpayer. the more we keep deferring things the worse it is going to get. and waiting for the big Lucent site to become the ratable it once is a pipedream since no one has a crystal ball of when that will benefit the town in a real way again so till then we need to take the proper steps.
Tony Orsini May 18, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Dan, I think this is a bit harsh. It's not about "corruption" but about putting in the time and effort to take a critical look at finances from a different perspective. Don't lose faith in government.
dan May 18, 2012 at 05:34 PM
dead on Pete, it is corrupt that the so called leaders gave the public workers and most egregiously the teachers, salaries and benefits that are just now starting to have impact. the sad fact is that it will multiply and saddle homeowners with an asset encumbrance that will reduce the value of their homes
dan May 18, 2012 at 05:36 PM
@Tony Orsini - I lost faith once oblah blah rolled into town. and it is corruption, albeit not the in your face cash in a bag, what else can you call agreements that benefit one class of people, Teacher, public workforce, developers..., and the expense of others??
Rick Blaine May 18, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Larry Fink and the word "right" should never be used together in the same sentence.
JOHN GRANA May 19, 2012 at 05:53 PM
The police/first aid/fire dept(s) do an outstanding job in this town and should never be criticized.. Every hard working american deserves an increase in salary after so many years on the job especially when the cost of living keeps going up year after year..
pete May 19, 2012 at 06:49 PM
so lets keep raising Holmdel Township Police department to an average of $150,000 that will really put us in good shape. We need to re-balance it sooner and not later. a plan needs to be put in place that makes sense and is as fair as possible.
Paul May 24, 2012 at 01:58 AM
The esculating costs in Holmdel over the past 20 years is absurd, especially when the services provided have deteriorated. Take notice to the poor condition of our roads, the reduction in brush removal, snow removal and the like. True, the police do an excellent job, however why do we need two or three cops to respond to a minor traffic infraction? In the business world, we would soon be out of business if we operated in this manner.
Tony Orsini May 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Dan, what the heck is oblah blah? Your criticisms may have validity but waaaaah?
Tony Orsini May 25, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Gotta vote? Vote-em out. And keep doing it til you get what you want. Don't vote? SHUT UP, whiner.
dan May 25, 2012 at 01:30 PM
@Tony oblah blah is the arrogant divider in chief - the socialist pig sitting in the white house
Tony Orsini May 25, 2012 at 01:43 PM
O I getcha now. I think your aluminum cap fell off. You need to find an island.
Nick J. May 25, 2012 at 01:49 PM
While the police in Town may be top heavy, the union rules state that the last one in is the first one out. Unfortunately there is not anything that can be done, unless you bust the union.....or if somebody has some spare cash laying around then you can offer an early retirement package....but that's not going to happen either.
dan May 25, 2012 at 01:52 PM
and you need to stop drinking the kool aid the white house puts out

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