Montclair approved its township budget with a slight increase. PHOTO BY LINDA MOSS

By Jaimie Julia Winters

Montclair property owners will see an increase of 1.68 percent on the municipal portion of their 2018 tax bill after the council approved the budget at its March 20 meeting.

Last year, the owner of the average home assessed at $510,600 paid $4,820 in municipal taxes. With the approved municipal budget, the owner of the average assessed home this year of $626,100 is projected to pay $4,901 in municipal taxes, an increase of $81 over last year, according to Chief Financial Officer Padmaja Rao.

“The 2017 budget is directly in line with our long-term debt management goals,” said Mayor Jackson. “In October of 2017 we adopted a resolution setting our debt balance target for 2018 through 2023 and have actually beat our own 2018 target. At the end of this year, we will be below the $170 million mark – something once unimagined.”

Total budget
and tax levy
The total projected municipal budget is $87,481,430, up $1,364,322 from the 2017 budget of $86,117,108.
The municipal tax levy or the amount raised by property taxes, is $64,884,509, a 1.85 percent increase from last year’s amount. This amount includes school debt services and library taxes.

Estimated total tax bill
The average homeowner owning a home at $626,100 is estimated to pay a total tax bill – including schools, municipal and county – of $19,401. School and county tax amounts have not been calculated yet.

Budget highlights

  • Public Safety – $350,000
    Three more officers will increase the force to 112. An additional three dispatchers and five crossing guards will be hired. Contractual wage increases are also reflected in the budget.
    Funding is also included for the purchase of Segways for police.
  • Code Enforcement – $70,000
    This year’s budget shows increased support for the township’s vacant property maintenance efforts. Passed in 2015, property owners are required to register vacant properties, ensuring they are aware of upkeep requirements.
  • Department of Health and Human Services
    Funding has been allocated for an additional full-time nurse as well as for continued support for Senior Services programs.
  • Department of Community Services
    The budget shows increased funding for Bigbelly smart waste disposal units, which have been installed throughout the township. Spending on tipping fees has also increased due to rate hikes. The budget sees similar increases in recycling costs.
  • Building department – $100,000
    Faster construction permit turnaround times with a significant increase in funding for additional personnel.
  • Health insurance down
    Medical insurance costs for township employees went down $103,767 from $6,863,766.
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