June 8, 2023
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–“I’m extremely proud of everyone who worked hard on this budget,” Council President Debbie Blakely said. ” It was not an easy year to say the least. We had to work with the aftermath of the pandemic, inflation, and tweaking several areas to give what we could to the school district in a year when we had to raise taxes ourselves. It was hard. That said, our department heads, Office of Administration, Mayor Dave Fried and this council came together to prepare a good budget that will continue to offer high quality services and keep our residents safe.”
One of the more significant changes Council proposed and ultimately adopted since the budget was presented was modifying the Shared Services Agreement between the Township and Robbinsville School District.
In March, Ms. Blakely and Councilman Mike Cipriano met with school officials at the request of Superintendent Brian Betze to discuss the many financial challenges the district, as well at the Township, were facing this budget year, particularly with the school being denied millions in expected State aid. Once Council received the budget from the Mayor, it listened to feedback from the School District, the community, and safety professionals in an effort to revise the funding formula of that Shared Services Agreement.
Although the proposed municipal budget already featured a tax increase of 3.7 cents per every $100 of assessed value, upon weighing the concerns of the residents and the district, Council adopted a budget utilizing $152,000 more from the Township’s surplus to help with the district’s shortfall. The now 3.8 cent municipal tax increase amounts to approximately $144 per year, per household.
“We are counting on the school district to use those funds to restore a full-time teaching position at the elementary level, as well as restoring courtesy bussing for Town Center East,” Council Vice President Mike Todd said. “This alteration of the initial budget proposal will have a direct and positive impact for all residents in our community and maximize the safety and educational opportunities for students.”
The $152,000 contribution from the Township allows the district to redirect funds previously earmarked for School Resource Officers (SROs) to other areas of need, specifically busing and teaching positions.
The new proposed tax rate of 57.7 cents (from 57.6) is applied to every $100 of assessed value based on the current average assessed value of a home in Robbinsville, which is $379,400. A penny in Robbinsville Township tax rate is worth $267,128.71. The total budget is $26,638,576.32.