Fair Haven taxes inch downward

Shared services, cost-cutting cited as factors

FAIR HAVEN – Mayor Michael Halfacre had some good news for residents at last week’s Borough Council meeting: the newbudgetwill allowfor themunicipal portion of the tax rate to go down by one-half cent per $100 of assessed valuation.

“The Finance Committee has finished their recommendations for the budgets,” said Borough Administrator Mary Howell. “We will be introducing our budget on Feb. 11 and are looking at half-a-cent decrease in our tax rate.”

The new rate will lead to an approximate $35 decrease per household, according to Howell.

“It isn’t a large amount, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Howell said.

Halfacre added that this is the first time in recentmemory that taxes in the borough have stayed level or decreased aswell as the earliest introduction of the budget in recent years.

“We can’t find when the last time taxes in the municipal portion of Fair Haven stayed level,” Halfacre said. “We’re very proud of that and everyone here hasworked hard to implement the changes over the past year that got us here.”

The decrease can be credited to a number of things, according to Howell, some of which include a restructuring of the borough’s capital programming, the council’s cancellation of $2 million in approved debt, a cutback of police overtime costs, and the implementation of shared services.

“Engineering and public works have been combined,” Howell said, “so we now have one engineer who oversees public works. That cuts our costs significantly.”

More details will follow Feb. 11, along with the introduction of the new budget, according to Halfacre.

– Jenna O’Donnell