Moorestown Council members were presented with three options for the 2013 budget on Tuesday, March 5, after the last look at the proposed budget included a $160 tax increase for the average assessed home – a 9 percent increase.
Township Financial Manager Tom Merchel said the next step for council is to review the options, discuss any possible changes and make a decision.
Merchel said the adjustments made from the last version of the budget include $400,000 in tax appeals from last year that need to be accounted for.
“If we did not have the liquor license revenue and other one time revenues we would not have that surplus,” Merchel said.
Version two of the proposed budget includes a 3.6 percent increase in taxes, which would be an increase of $62 for the average assessed home. Version three includes an increase of 4.8 percent, or $85, while version four includes a 1.5 percent increase or a $27 increase.
According to Merchel, the average assessed home in Moorestown is $445,776.
Although the fourth option would keep the township below the 2 percent cap set by the state, and taxes would not be raised more than $30 compared to the other options, both Merchel and township manager Scott Carew suggested council’s best option would be version three.
Merchel said there are exceptions that allow the township to go above the 2 percent cap.
Projected values were also included when creating the options presented before council.
Merchel said he wanted to show council the possible impact of each version over the course of three years.
In version two, taxes are projected to increase $20 in 2014, $45 in 2015 and $41 in 2016, with a surplus of just under $2 million by the end of 2016.
Version three taxes in 2014 are projected to increase by $35, in 2015 by $36 and in 2016 by $41, with a surplus of $2.9 million.
Version four would be more damaging long-term as projected by Merchel’s calculations. The taxes in 2014 would increase by $23, in 2015 by $45 and in 2016 by $118. At the end of 2016 there would be $1.33 million in the surplus.
“I am a huge believer in not over using unsustainable revenues to keep taxes down,” Carew said, adding he does not want to see the township hit a wall in the future.
Merchel said the township is still working through the budget process and must submit the proposed budget to the county before final approval.