Jackson adopts $41.6M budget

JACKSON — The Township Council has approved a $41.6 million budget to fund the operation of the municipality in 2015.

“The result of this budget is a true testament that fiscal planning and responsibility works. No tricks, no gimmicks, just hard work, dedication and a commitment to do what is best for the residents of Jackson,” council President Barry Calogero said.

Jackson’s residential and commercial property owners will pay $30.3 million in taxes this year to support the spending plan.

Property owners paid $29.8 million in taxes to support the 2014 municipal budget.

The 2015 budget will use $2.65 million from Jackson’s surplus funds (savings) as revenue. In 2014, the budget included $2.2 million from surplus as revenue.

Officials said the municipal tax rate will increase from 44.8 cents to 45.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The increase in the tax rate will have a different impact on each property owner depending on the assessed value of his home and/or property.

In 2014, the average home in Jackson was assessed at $323,257 and the owner of that home paid $1,448 in municipal taxes.

In 2015, the average home in Jackson is assessed at $325,216 and the owner of that home will pay $1,480 in municipal taxes, an increase of $32.

In a different example, if a Jackson home that was assessed at $300,000 in 2014 is still assessed at $300,000 in 2015, the owner of that home will see his municipal tax rise from $1,334 to $1,365.

Of the three largest appropriations in the budget, public safety will receive the largest amount, with more than $11.8 million budgeted for law enforcement and emergency services. Approximately $11.2 million of that total will be spent on public safety salaries (i.e., police).

About $6 million will be appropriated for general government expenses, with $4.3 million appropriated for salaries for municipal employees.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) will receive $5.4 million, with $2.6 million of that amount appropriated for salaries.

Almost $1.8 million was appropriated for capital improvements, with an estimated $1 million in funding for road, drainage and sidewalk improvements, and $45,000 for miscellaneous park and building improvements.

Capital improvements will also include the purchase of a new dump truck for the DPW ($180,000), a new pickup truck with a snow blow and trailer tow package for the DPW ($68,000), a new bus or van for the senior center ($50,000) and a 4×4 mower for the DPW ($48,000).

Purchases for the Jackson Police Department are scheduled to include upgrades to video surveillance equipment and emergency generators at police headquarters ($40,000) and the replacement of the existing 911 system ($200,000).

— Andrew Martins