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To the Editor:

Tax bills with rates reflecting the recently passed budgets for municipal and school taxes have arrived in our mailboxes. As you look over the numbers, here are some points to remember.

The Hopewell Township Committee’s (HTC) discretionary spending – the amount over which it has control – is down 3.04 percent in the 2019 budget. That’s the work our Democratic HTC majority is doing for us.

As much as the HTC majority worked to lower discretionary spending by 3.04 percent, the municipal tax share of our tax bills increased 4.68 percent, due in large part to legal costs, prescheduled debt service, and recycling costs placed by the county, items over which the Township Committee does not have control. The committee’s average increase from 2016-19 has been 2.37 percent. 

The HTC understands that we’ve heard about the school district’s 5.27 percent increase and then the township’s 4.68 percent increase. These numbers need to be put into perspective.

The new school taxrate is $1.67 per $100 of assessed valuation, so the taxes paid to the school district on the average-valuation home in the township ($463,734) are $7,744. The new municipal rateis 39.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, or $1,841 in taxes paid to the Township on that average-valuation home. The Township’s increase is $84 a year on average, and the school district’s increase is $388. The school district’s increase in our taxes is nearly five times bigger than that of the Township. So please keep these differences in mind. (And you might want to go to school board meetings to ask why the school district needed such a jump in its budget.)

Or to restate: Increase in Township share of our average tax bill:  $84.

Increase in Hopewell Valley School District’s share of our average tax bill: $388.

Billie Moore,

Hopewell Township

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