Sussex. The Sussex Borough Council on March 2 got an early look at the 2021 municipal budget, which, before any alterations were made, is about 4 percent bigger than last year.
The borough’s chief financial officer, Michel Marceau, said the budget in its original form would increase taxes by about $57 for the average borough household, and is about $19,000 over the 2 percent cap.
The borough also has a $57,000 banked cap available. This non-assessed tax revenue from the past three years under the 2 percent cap could be used if the budget exceeds the cap next year.
“We have plenty of cap bank to use if we decide to, but that’s your decision,” Marceau said.
Marceau said he can easily cut a few things out of the budget, but otherwise the budget is going to be tight.
The biggest struggle continues to be in the water/sewer budget, where Marceau said the borough came up $116,000 short in collections.
“I cut that pretty severely,” Marceau said. “As you know, revenues for all the towns are down due to the pandemic.”
The borough in December passed an emergency state budget program that would help them cover the shortfall. Marceau said the borough has until the end of 2021 to decide to use it.
The only other option is a three-year average from 2018, 2019, and 2020. But since 2020 saw a smaller collection, it would lower the average collection to less than the borough requires.
“It’s not going to get back to where we were last year,” Marceau said. “We’re still kind of in the pandemic. We don’t know when it’s going to end for good. It’s safe to assume, if we use the three-year average, we’re not going to hit our revenues.”