No Township Tax Increase in Hamilton this Year
With revenue figures now in, Hamilton Township’s prediction of no municipal government tax increase looks to be “right on the money.”
At a press conference today, Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo provided the revenue side that completes the Township’s proposed fiscal year 2010 budget, which will once again not increase municipal taxes this year. The budget will now be considered by the Township Council, who must adopt a budget this September.
In addition to no tax increase, Mayor Bencivengo highlighted several aspects of the proposed budget, which include:
ü A reduction in Township employees (30 less full-time employees over the last 3 years)
ü HamStat and a Call Center (to better serve residents and help identify future cost-saving measures)
ü Road reconstruction and repairs for 26 township roads
ü Funding for a complete township Master Plan update (which will focus on opportunities for economic growth, business retention and open space preservation)
ü Funding for a township-wide Traffic Study (which will look for ways to reduce traffic congestion)
ü Technology upgrades to improve the efficiency of Township inspections
ü The replacement of 15 aging police vehicles
The Township’s Sewer Utility Budget (which is separate from the municipal operating budget) will also have no rate increase this year. And while rates remain the same, needed sewer system repairs will continue so that residents have a functioning system and avoid costly system failures that have plagued the community in the past.
More impressive is the Township’s ability to achieve no tax increase, while economic factors have worked to reduce some revenue areas. Yet various cost-saving measures implemented by the Township over the last year and a half, such as the private management of the ecological facility, the reorganization of the Police Division and savings through power purchase agreements, among others, have helped to stabilize taxes and should help to build healthy surplus revenue for the first time since prior to the Township’s severe financial issues.
The revenue projections that complete the new budget follow the Township’s submission of the 2009 Annual Financial Statement last week. The Annual Financial Statement certifies local governments’ fund balances at the end of a budget year.
“The taxpayers of Hamilton now have three strong indications that the Township’s finances are moving in the right direction under our leadership. First, the State of New Jersey released Hamilton Township from State Supervision over a year early. Second, an independent auditor gave Hamilton Township its first positive audit in the last three years. Now, the cost-saving measures and strong financial controls we have implemented are benefitting Hamilton taxpayers as there will be no increase in Township taxes again this year. This tax stability comes as a result of good government practices and fiscal responsibility rather than fiscal gimmicks,” summarized Mayor John Bencivengo. “While we keep taxes stable, we are fulfilling our responsibilities to the taxpayers – responsibilities that were neglected during the past several years. We are improving our roads, our sewers, the infrastructure and equipment used to serve the public and efficiencies that will help save money for the taxpayers of our community. In summary, this budget continues to move Hamilton Township in the right direction.”