Mayor Kevin D. Kuchinski announced Hopewell Township has achieved 2 million in savings for Township residents through a revised schedule for tax payments to the School District. These savings will be applied to reducing debt and Affordable Housing costs in 2017.
Commenting on this agreement, Mayor Kuchinski said, “After a thorough analysis, we determined that significant savings can be accomplished by shifting the timing of our tax payments to the School District. For years, we have had to carry an extra 2 million dollars on our books because the July and August school payments came due before Third Quarter tax payments were fully paid by residents to the Township. This essentially penalized the taxpayer.”
“I want to thank our partners in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District for their help in shifting the timing of these payments, and enabling the return of this 2 million dollars to Township residents.”
This program is part of a broader initiative to lower Township borrowing and reduce debt service costs. In 2017, the Committee is utilizing this freed-up surplus to fund the direct purchase of $1.55 million in capital items.
Deputy Mayor Julie Blake noted, “By not taking on new bonds to fund this equipment, the Committee will save Township residents $350,000 in interest costs, and we can begin paying down the debt incurred by previous administrations.”
“Like a family that budgets for an extra mortgage payment each month in order to save money on the interest, the Committee is looking at the long-term and working to improve the financial health of the Township,” said Deputy Mayor Blake. “This is what good financial planning looks like. With bi-partisan support, we are also now paying for more of our current year capital needs through the operating budget vs. bonding new debt.”
Over the past two years, Hopewell Township has been working closely with the Hopewell Valley Regional School District to identify opportunities to improve service and save money for Valley residents. This includes the successful application for a FEMA grant for $114,000 to install a new emergency power generator at Hopewell Valley Central High School and extends to this recent agreement.
Robert Colavita, Business Administrator for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District commented, “Our relationship with the Township is very collaborative, so once they explained the benefit for shifting payment dates, the District did what we could to make it happen.”
School Board President Lisa Wolff added, “We are now looking at several additional initiatives that will reduce the District’s operating costs. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you work with good partners.”
In 2017, Hopewell Township will reduce its overall debt burden by over $6 million dollars or almost 10%. This is critical as interest rates rise. Mayor Kuchinski added, “We’re committed to lower taxes for our residents, and reducing debt service costs is an important tool in our toolkit. I want to thank Elaine Borges, the Township CFO, and Bob Colavita, HVRSD’s Business Administrator for their help in developing this new savings initiative. We couldn’t have achieved these savings without them. “
“And I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Superintendent Dr. Tom Smith and our Board of Education President Lisa Wolff for their support.”