Data Universe has released their average New Jersey property tax information for all municipalities per county. It shows that Roselle Park climbed one position to go from 13th highest in 2014 to 12th highest average property tax in the county this year at $9,514. This $457 increase from last year is also the second highest percentage increase (5%) in Union County, surpassed only by Mountainside which had a 6.5% increase from 2014 to 2015. As far as dollar amount, Roselle Park had the 4th highest dollar increase, with Mountainside, again with $723, being the highest followed by Westfield ($524) and Summit ($491).
Property tax is comprised of five (5) major components: municipal, school, county, open space, and library. Taxpayers usually look, and direct their criticism, at Mayor & Council as being responsible for the increase in their property taxes. Last year, the Roselle Park School District’s (RPSD) 6.6% increase of $1,262,970 in the amount to be collected from property taxes was the major contributor to the ranking. In comparison, the municipal tax levy was $416,079.23 in 2015, which is 1/3 of the school district’s portion of property taxes.
The average property tax in Roselle Park, since 2000, has increased 115%.
With the average property tax just $500 short being five figures, residents should begin to pay close attention to both the municipal and school district budgets. In particular, the school district will have issues with its spending since it no longer has any bank cap left. Banked cap is an amount the state allows school districts to ‘bank’ then use for subsequent year’s budget, for up to three years later. There is a cap of 2% on what a school district can increase the tax levy by and the banked cap is the amount under that 2% that was not used. The banked cap amount for any given year is never really taken out of that year’s budget. In other words, if a school district increases the allowable expenditures by 1%, then the remaining 1% is put on the books for that district to use for any budget up to three years later. Last year, RPSD used the final amount of their bank cap, $219,962,from when it had a 0% tax levy increase in 2012. There is no bank cap left nor any within the foreseeable future since the Board Of Education (BOE) has always increased the amount to be raised by taxes to the 2% cap since 2013.
The municipality will hold its budget workshops starting next month and the BOE will have its budget presentations in March or April. Both are open to the public.