Municipality & BOE Approve Budgets At $35 Million Cost To Taxpayers

$53,734,525.85 combined budgets for the municipality and the school district will have $35,375,940.78 – almost 2/3 of it – come from taxes. The remaining $18 million will come mostly from grants, fees, and state aid.

Using basic math of dividing the $35 million tax levy amount by the 3,603 taxable properties in Roselle Park, the average property tax just for the school and municipality is $9,818.47. That does not include county and open space taxes. For the municipal portion of taxes, that averages out to $3,780.45. For the 2018-19 school year, the school district’s portion of taxes averaged $6,038.02.

The average increase for this year’s municipal budget for a house assessed at $253,000 is $48.07. This does not mean taxes are $48, simply that the amount increased by nearly fifty bucks. If the municipal portion of property taxes was $3,000 last year, in 2018 it will be $3,050.

The average increase for the 2018-19 school budget is $44.58. Since the school year along with the budget goes from July to the following June, the actual increase takes half of the previous school year’s budget increase ($132.69 for 2017-18) and half of the current year’s which comes out to $88.64.

The municipal governing body unanimously approved their 2018 municipal operating budget on May 3rd. The school board passed the 2018-19 school year budget last night at their May 8th Board Of Education meeting by a 6-1 vote. BOE member Sundjata Sekou once again voted ‘no’ stating in part, “the residents of Roselle Park should get rid of the 2 percent cap and be able to vote on the budget.”

Click to read BOE member Sekou's entire statement on his budget vote

First of all, I want to say on the record that this is a great budget. So, I want to thank the committee, the committee chair, Mr. Miller, Mrs. Guercio, Mr. Guerrido, and Governor Murphy for providing the additional education funding.

Because of Mr. Murphy, Roselle Park has seen an increase in funding. But, in a lot of senses, we have seen this before. When Jon Corzine became governor, he gave more money to education, when Chris Christie became governor, he cut education funding drastically in his first year. When this issue, of a changing political climate in Trenton, that effects our budget was raised during meetings, the board of education administration stated that this reality will be addressed in the present and future budgets.

But, overall, whoever is in office, the issue of property taxes is a concern in Roselle Park and the entire state of New Jersey. According to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the average property taxes in Roselle Park is $9,934.

Plus, with the federal government installing a $10,000 cap on state and local taxes, homeowners in Roselle Park, where average property tax bills are nearing $10,000, will be totally affected.

So, now more than ever, the residents of Roselle Park should get rid of the 2 percent cap and be able to vote on the budget. This will do the following:

  1. Have all Roselle Park voting residents get the opportunity to either accept or reject the budget that is proposed by the BOE.
  2. If the voters accept the budget, then more residents thought it is financially good for us.
  3. If the voters decide to reject the budget, residents thought it is not good for us.
  4. So the outcome of the budget will be in direct control of ALL Roselle Park voters.
  5. Therefore, giving all residents the ability to vote on the budget is a way to address ever-increasing property taxes.

In addition, this stance is a way to help residents, teachers, the administration, and most importantly our students who I personally know receive a great education in Roselle Park.

Therefore, for all those reasons I just mentioned, I am voting no on this budget. Thank you for the time.

BOE members Loren Harms and Kimberly Powers were not present for the meeting.

The combined $136.71 increase is 50% less than last year’s combined increase.

Once all budgets from the municipality, school district, and county are approved and submitted to the county tax board, the actual increases will be calculated and certified during the summer.