In a fiscal climate where good news about taxes seems as rare as a celebrity who hasn’t been in rehab, Fair Haven has done the seemingly impossible: lowering its municipal taxes.

The rate in the next budget year will be lower by one half-cent per $100 of assessed valuation, borough officials claim.

“We’re very proud of that,” said Mayor Mike Halfacre. “Nobody can remember the last time taxes went down.”

The reaction was muted at last night’s council meeting, perhaps reflecting surprise. “It’s about time,” called out one resident.

With the average Fair Haven home assessed at approximately $535,100, the new budget “would result in a decrease in the municipal portion of taxes for that home of roughly $32,” Halfacre tells redbankgreen. The reduction applies only to the municipal portion of the tax paid by property owners; school and county taxes are set separately.

Halfacre credited budget tightening in “many areas, as well as the savings we will see from bringing the engineer in-house and paying down debt with the sale of the Masonic Lodge.”

Public Works Superintendent Tom Curcio was axed in late November and replaced by Richard Gardella, who also assumed the duties formerly provided to the borough under contract by T&M Associates.

Also in November, the borough sold the former Masonic Temple on River Road for $955,000.

Halfacre praised the efforts of new Borough Administrator Mary Howell, CFO
Denise Jawadzik, the citizen’s ad hoc Finance Committee and Councilman and Finance Committee chair Jon Peters for cutting the budget.

The new budget will be introduced Feb. 11.

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