The local property tax for the average Red Bank home would increase by $58 later this year under the proposed 2007-’08 budget formally introduced last night.

That’s down from the $97 average increase anticipated by a draft of the budget unveiled just last Thursday.

The average home in the borough is valued at $404,981, according to the reassessment completed earlier this year. Excluding school and county taxes, the annual levy on that home would be $1,556, compared to $1,498 under the 2006-’07 tab.

(To calculate your tax, multiply your assessment by .00384. Keep in mind, though, that the actual rate won’t be struck until the budget is adopted. And if you don’t know your assessment, you can look it up here.)

In percentage terms, the municipal tax would rise 3.9 percent, instead of 6.9 percent as called for in the draft document. The difference? The rejection of requests by department heads for new hires — most prominently in the code enforcement department, where one new inspector is expected to join the payroll instead of three.

Democrats on the Borough Council spoke of the proposal as a starting point for further discussion. “There will be continual revisions, and not on the upward side but on the downward side,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

But lone Republican Councilman John Curley voted against the introduction, saying he “could not accept the budget at the level it is with the increase.” He said he would work with councilman and finance commitee chairman Michael DuPont to “bring it down to zero, if we can’t even get below that.”

“I don’t know if it’s going to be zero,” DuPont said afterward. “I don’t walk on water.”

Driving the budget growth are salaries and pension obligations, which jumped nearly $225,000 from the present spending plan.

Today’s Star-Ledger has a story that says the pension obligations will cost New Jersey municipalities $1 billion next year — up $383 million from this year’s tab.

From the story:

The cost has been rising dramatically since 2004, when the state required towns to resume payments into the pension funds after a six-year break.

“It’s a ticking time bomb, and now the time bomb is waiting to go off,” said William Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. “They’re going to continue to go up at an intense rate, and the property tax payers are the ones that are going to have to dig into their pockets to pay the bill.”

The size of next year’s bill became clear yesterday with the release of an annual report by the actuary for the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund. The report said New Jersey’s municipal governments are scheduled to pay $640 million into that fund on April 1, 2008.

That comes on top of $393 million towns are scheduled to pay into the retirement fund for other local government employees on that date.

Together, the retirement payments will reach $1.033 billion.

While local officials face the $383 million increase, they would see a boost of just $32.6 million in state aid that Gov. Jon Corzine highlighted in his proposed state budget for the upcoming year.

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