HAMILTON TOWNSHIP —The township has formally introduced a $25.2 million budget that would raise the local purpose tax rate by about 3 cents.

Despite the increase, declining real estate values mean owners of homes assessed at the township average — $177,000 this year — would see their municipal taxes reduced by $23 from last year, when the average home was assessed at $184,500.

Township Administrator Michael Jacobs said the increase in the local purpose tax was needed to replace about $655,000 lost in tax appeals during the past year. The township is spending $300,000 on a reassessment this year, just four years after a $1 million reappraisal that has been continually undercut by declining real estate values.

Overall, township spending will be down about $80,000, although salaries and wages are expected to increase by 4.5 percent. In an email, Committeewoman Amy Gatto said that included 2 percent raises for most staff. She said the township also anticipated hiring two additional police officers, three part-time special Class II police officers, two housing inspectors and a separate part-time employee.

The township plans to hold a hearing and adopt the budget April 21.

Earlier at its meeting Monday night, the Township Committee made changes to a proposed ordinance that would set aside township contracts for businesses owned by or employing veterans, requiring that it be re-advertised for next month. The biggest change was an amendment by Committeewoman Aline Dix, who wanted a qualifying business to employ at least 50 percent veterans, up from 25 percent in the proposed ordinance.

Dix’s amendment passed 3-2, over the objection of the sponsor, Committeeman Rodney Guishard, who said the higher percentage would limit the number of qualifying firms.

Other changes postponed introduction of the set-aside to 2015 and reduced the targeted amount from 5 percent to 1 percent of township contracting, or about $184,000, Jacobs said.

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Been working with the Press for about 27 years.