HILLSBOROUGH: Property tax bills will show $229 increase for ‘average’ home

By Gene Robbins, Managing Editor
Township owners will get bills next week that will show property taxes increasing by about $229 on the “average” house.
Almost 90 percent of that increase comes from taxes to support the school system. The amount for schools rises $205 for that hypothetical house this year. The average home will pay $5,829 in the year for education.
Tax bills will be mailed July 28, with the grace period to avoid an interest penalty for the quarter extended to Aug. 24.
Property taxes to support local government inch up $20 to $1,217 per year, and county taxes remain virtually unchanged — up slightly more than $1 — to $1,209 a year.
The average home is calculated at $368,786. The average assessment increased less than one percent from 2014’s $366,179. There are more than 12,800 residences in the township.
The full property tax bite for 2015 is calculated at $8,655, compared to last year’s $8,426.
The value of township property for tax purposes is slightly more than $5.5 billion, with residences accounting for five-sixths of the amount. The township experienced a growth of about $57 million in ratables, which means more properties over which to spread the tax burden.
 Board of Education members told the public this spring to expect a 3.8 percent increase in local taxes to pay for schools, and that’s pretty much what they got. School administrators said during the budget process that Hillsborough owners of property assessed at $350,000, for example, should expect a $161 increase in local property taxes going to schools.
 In crafting a $115.9 million operating budget, the school board used the state-allowed 2 percent increase in taxes, plus unused cap space from previous years, as well as a health care waiver. The unused cap bank for this budget amounts to $1.3 million and the healthcare waiver is $408,000.
Hillsborough’s board has now used its built-up cap space, leaving the question of “what happens next year?” looming.
The school board has pointed to the lack of any significant increase in state aid over the last four years as a major revenue problem. Aid stands at about $25 million of the total $120.8 million budget. Local property taxes raise nearly $87 million in this budget.
Township Committee members adopted a $28.2 million local government budget that stays within the 2 percent cap on increases in property taxes for the 5th straight year.
It said the tax increase on a home assessed at $350,000 would be about $10.
The township benefits this year by having paid off the last of an $800,000-plus charge for the township wide property revaluation, passed in 2010. It also saw a decrease by making the last payment on a library expansion.
The township saw increases on snow removal expenses and mandated pension contributions. 