The Plainsboro Township Committee has adopted its $23.15 million budget for 2010, which reflects a tax rate increase of .9 cents.
The budget, adopted May 26, originally carried a 1.9 cent increase, but officials were able to make enough cuts from the originally proposed spending package to reduce the tax rate by a penny.
Under the adopted measure, the owner of an average home assessed at $392,000 would see an increase of about $35 over last year’s tax bill. Under the originally projected 1.9 cent increase, that owner would have paid $74 more in taxes last year.
Officials were able to make more cuts to the expenditures after the county got a better recycling bid. Officials were also able to see reductions in audited expenses and health insurance costs. The mayor and Township Committee made more cuts to their own budgets for next year as well.
Prior to introduction, the committee and Mayor Peter Cantu had called on the staff to find further reductions in light of the economy and the large hit residents will take in school taxes, which alone reflect a 10-cent tax rate increase for Plainsboro.
With regard to 2010, revenues are down, most significantly in state aid, which dropped by $423,000, or 20 percent. State aid represents 7 percent of the township’s total revenue, down from 9.5 percent last year. As a result, Plainsboro used $4.3 million in surplus to offset some of the impact, an amount that is higher than last year.
The largest increase in expenses was in employee costs — 60 percent of the budget. Pensions increased by $500,000, and health insurance increased by $182,000, a 7 percent increase. Some of that increase, however, was offset by the use of a one-time surplus in the township’s insurance fund, as well as the fact the township had saved some benefits costs and received some concessions in some of its negotiated agreements.
The budget continues to maintain support for the rescue squad, historical society, and the library. It eliminates out-of-state travel for municipal staff. The budget also includes funds for the ongoing road maintenance program, including the reconstruction of Edgemere Road as well as the rehabilitation of the old library — at an estimated price tag of $4 million.