PRESS: AVERAGE RUMSON TAX BILL UP $3

Rumson’s council approved a 2012 budget that calls for a $3 increase to the local property tax for the owner of a home assessed at the borough-average $1 million, the Asbury Park Press reports Wednesday.

The $14.93 million budget approved at a Tuesday afternoon session of the governing body marks a $67,486 decline in overall spending, Press reporter Larry Higgs writes.

From the Press:

The budget, which was approved unanimously by all six council members Tuesday afternoon and comes with a tax rate of 33.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, is a slight increase from the 2011 rate of 33.17 cents per $100. That rate doesn’t include school, regional school or county taxes.

Under the 2012 rate, the owner of the average home assessed at $1 million would pay an annual municipal tax of $3,320, an increase of $3 over the 2011 tax of $3,317. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. April 3 in the Charles Callman courtroom.

What’s behind the two-tenths of a cent increase is a balancing act between covering increased expenses, such as a $93,000 hike in health benefits, revenues that dipped by $23,000 and increases by the Two River Regional Water Reclamation Authority to process the borough’s sewage. Despite that, officials delivered the second budget in a row that’s dropped spending, Borough Administrator Thomas Rogers said. And part of the tax rate increase was to provide more money for the statutorily mandated reserve for uncollected taxes, he said.

Part of it is momentum from past years of bringing in the borough budget at the governor’s two percent spending cap, said Mayor John Ekdahl. That includes having settled contracts with employee unions for 2012 and 2013.