Correction: This article originally indicated the percent tax increase was 6.6 percent over the 2012 tax rate. The percent increase in the introduced budget in 6.3 percent.
The Aberdeen Township Council introduced a municipal budget with a $804,938.97 increase at their March 20 meeting.
The $16,333,733.06 budget, which the council said is a work in progress, includes an approximately $601,389.83 increase in the tax levy from the adopted 2012 budget to $10,690,313.82. About $719,969 of the tax levy is allotted for the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library.
The tax rate would also see an increase if it were adopted as is, from 48.7 cents per $100 of a property's assessed value to 51.77 cents. Although there is a 6.3 percent increase in the tax rate, the budget complies with state standards, Township Administrator Holly Reycraft said. Municipalities are allowed to exceed the state's two percent budget cap to meet employee health and pension requirements, debt service and emergency spending requirements, such as that incurred in Hurricane Sandy.
Currently, the average Aberdeen home is valued at $282,000 which results in $1,373.34 in municipal taxes for the year or about $114.45 a month. That same home would see their taxes increase to $1,459.91 a year or about $121.66 per month.
Councilman Gregory Cannon emphasized that it is important to take into consideration all of the services that the taxes allow the township to provide to residents, such as the police department, first aid, single stream recycling, street lights, storm clean up, recreation activities, a senior center, a library and snow and leaf removal.
"Those are just some of the things that the town provides to the residents for essentially $121 a month," he said. "That's less than my cable bill."
Even so, the council plans to work over the next few weeks to trim the budget wherever possible to limit the impact on the taxpayer.
"The ultimate goal is to stabilize the tax rate in Aberdeen and make life affordable for all residents," Cannon said.
Reycraft explained that the township is also still waiting to find out how much in reimbursements they will receive from FEMA, which could reduce the budget.
Last year, between the budget introduction and the approval of the final budget, the township was able to reduce the tax levy by $31,690.
A date has not yet been set for a public hearing on the budget, which the council must hold before adopting the finalized version.