Municipal & School Budgets Approved At Cost Of $35 Million To Taxpayers

The budgets for the municipality and school district were approved within six days of each other earlier this month at a total cost of $35,642,680.70 to Roselle Park property taxpayers. Both budgets will have a total estimated increase of $254.13 for a house assessed at $253,000.

At the May 4th Mayor & Council meeting, Roselle Park’s governing body voted unanimously to approve the municipality’s $17,604,970.04 operating budget for 2017. Almost ¾ of the budget, $13,034,370.97, comes from property taxes. Adding the local minimum library tax $367,362.73 – a calculated amount required by law – brings the local property taxpayer’s share of the budget to 76% at a total of $13,401,733.70 to run the municipal government.

This budget is an estimated increase of $121.44 in the municipal share of property taxes for a house assessed at $253,000 (link to article). Contrary to statements made by members of council during the budget process that the increase would be under $100, this almost 30% increase over last year’s budget is the third largest increase since the turn of the century. The largest increase was in 2008 at $153; the following year was the second largest with a $122 dollar increase in the municipal portion of property taxes.

A copy of the adopted budget is included below:

Download Roselle Park 2017 Municipal Budget

The Roselle Park Board Of Education (BOE) approved the school district’s budget less than a week later at their May 9th meeting. Almost two out of every three dollars of the $33,780,538 budget will be coming from property taxes. The $21,537,847 to be raised from the tax levy will have an additional $703,100 in debt service to pay down on a referendum approved by voters years ago, bringing the total amount to $22,240,947.

The increase for a household assessed at $253,000 for the school budget is $132.69 – which is only 9% more than the increase for the municipal portion of taxes (link to article).

The school budget passed with one ‘no’ vote from BOE member Sundjata Sekou. Before the vote, Mr. Sekou read from a prepared statement.

“I was elected to serve the Roselle Park Board of Education in 2015,” stated the BOE member as part of his reasoning for not approving the 2017-18 school year budget, “I feel like I have an obligation to all residents of Roselle Park to follow through on my campaign promise and plan to return to Board Of Education election to April so that all residents can vote on the school budget.”

Mr. Sekou concluded his statement by saying, “This stance is no way a reflection on Roselle Park teachers or the education that students from Roselle Park receive. I know personally that Roselle Park students receive a great education but, at this particular time, with the cost of education constantly increasing and state aid remaining flat, all Roselle Park residents should vote on the budget. Therefore, for all these reasons that I just mentioned, I’m voting no on this budget.”

A copy of the school district’s user-friendly budget is available below:

Download Roselle Park School District 2017-18 User Friendly Budget

Both of these budget increases do not take into account the portion of property taxes that will go to open space funding or the county. Once all are portions are reviewed, the property tax rate will be certified by the county during the summer. It is this figure that will determine the final property tax that each household (and business) will pay.