For the first time in six years, the Vernon Township Council has proposed a municipal budget that doesn’t raise taxes, said council president Patrick Rizzuto.
On March 28, the Township Council introduced its proposed 2022 municipal budget, calls for a zero percent tax increase.
The week before, Mayor Howard Burrell unveiled a budget calling for a 1.7 percent tax increase, but Councilman Brian Lynch asked that it be whittled down to 0.
In light of the nation’s 7.9 percent inflation rate, which has forced the township to pay more for goods and services, the 1.7 percent-increase budget was “quite an accomplishment,” Burrell said.
Rizzuto called it a “very good starting point.”
“I want to thank (the mayor) for that,” he said. “The distance we had to travel to reduce this to a no-tax increase was greatly decreased by his ability to bring us a document that allowed us to make this move.”
Chief financial officer Donelle Bright said the tax rate moved from 0.771 to 0.676 since the March 23 budget session. The average home in Vernon Township is assessed at $237,000, up from $206,000 last year, and the average property owner will pay $1,605.
Bright said that’s less than the average family pays for its cell phone. The average taxpayer will pay $4.03 per day for the municipal budget.
In addition to inflation, employee health insurance increased by 14 percent, and Social Security and pension payments by 8 percent.
Various council members and the public said they were thankful for the decrease to zero.
Rizzuto asked Burrell whether any aspect of two trail development projects — the bicycle pump track, and the walking and biking trail — has not been paid for.
“There are no specific bonds that I’m aware of that’s aimed at those specific projects,” Burrell said.
The council will hold a public hearing on the budget at its April 25 meeting before putting it up for final adoption.
“I want to thank (the mayor) for that. The distance we had to travel to reduce this to a no-tax increase was greatly decreased by his ability to bring us a document that allowed us to make this move.” Council President Patrick Rizzuto