The average Caldwell taxpayer will see a municipal tax increase of $46 this year, the Borough Administrator Paul Carelli reported at Thursday night’s council meeting.
The Caldwell Council unanimously passed the $11,905,256 budget Thursday, in a meeting that was rescheduled due to . The amount to be raised by taxes is $7,168,839, an increase of $128,288, or 1.8%, over the 2011 budget.
The average home assessment in 2012, according to Carelli, is $424,910 and the average taxpayer will pay $2,979 in municipal taxes. The municipal tax rate is $0.701 per $100 of valuation.
In a presentation of the 2012 budget, Carelli said the challenges the borough faced putting together this year’s budget included, a decrease in assessments, an increase in tax appeals, debt service and dealing with two major storms.
The total assessment for Caldwell was $1,031,922,186 in 2011. The number dropped to $1,022,421,277 in 2012, a decline of about $9.5 million. Carelli said this signifies $64,891 fewer municipal tax dollars for the borough’s budget.
The borough also had to increase its reserve for tax appeals by $55,000 due to an increase in tax appeal filings.
Due to Hurricane Irene and the freak, the town also had to factor in $155,500 for emergency storm clean-up, since reimbursement from FEMA of $134,000 has yet to be confirmed.
In his presentation, Carelli showed how the total average five-year increase in municipal taxes is $805. He also compared Caldwell’s municipal taxes to neighboring towns, discussed notable events of the past year and talked about upcoming infrastructurion and technology projects planned by the borough (see photo gallery for details).
The borough has found a number of ways to deal with these challenges. Court revenue is on the rise due in part to an increase in enforcement. A renegotiated recreation agreement with West Caldwell is saving the borough more than $100K annually. Plus, the borough has realized some savings with its joint dispatch agreement with West Caldwell.
The 2012 Budget Committee included Chair and Council President Richard Hauser, Councilman John Kelley, Mayor Ann Dassing, Borough Administrator Paul Carelli and Borough CFO Margaret Cherone.