Municipal taxes are expected to eclipse $3,000 for the average assessed home ($133,000) this year, according to the $49-million budget introduced by City Council on Monday night. The municipal budget makes up about 38 percent of the overall tax bill, which also is made up of the school and county taxes.
The municipal tax levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — is proposed at $33.455 million, down slightly from the $34.118 million estimated for all of 2011, which was split between the second half of the 2011 fiscal year budget and a 2011 transitional year budget. The proposed municipal tax rate for 2012 is 2.287 (per $100 of assessed value), so the average assessed home ($133,000) would see municipal taxes of $3,042, compared with $3,046 estimated last year.
The city’s net valuation dropped from $1.489 billion to $1.462 billion, a decline of $27 million or almost 2 percent, due primarily to Merck’s tax appeal. City Financial Officer Frank Ruggiero told council members that $1.5 million of a $3-million settlement with the Union County Utilities Authority will be used as revenue this year, offsetting the loss of about $1 million in tax revenue this year due to the multi-year tax appeal settlement with Merck. He said the city also plans to become more aggressive in its debt reduction in the 2012 budget.
The City Council in November approved a transitional year budget covering July-December 2011, as it moved from a fiscal year budget (July to June) to a calendar year budget this year. Municipal taxes were about $1,522 for the average home for the six-month transitional year budget, and about $2,416 in the last fiscal year budget.