MILLVILLE — City Commission will introduce a 2014 budget next month that will hold the local-purpose tax rate steady for the fifth consecutive fiscal plan.
The city’s local-purpose rate will remain $1.26 per $100 of assessed property value.
The average home in Millville is assessed at $126,695. That means the average property owner will pay $1,596 in local-purpose taxes.
Full budget details will be provided when City Commission formally introduces the proposed fiscal plan.
City Chief Financial Officer Marcella Shepard said the budget will increase by almost $491,000, or 1.6 percent, from the previous budget. That budget was a six-month transitional budget created when the city switched from a fiscal-year to a calendar-year budget. The city used a fiscal-year budget for about 22 years.
City Commissioner James Quinn said the governing body rejected requests for more than $131,000 in operational budget increases.
“We did not agree to that,” Quinn said. “Salary and wages, we have no choice. Fortunately, they are not in large amounts.”
The proposed budget provides for no additional hirings or promotions, Shepard said.
City officials have said they are avoiding spikes in the local-purpose rate — something that occurred occasionally in the past — by planning better for future budgets.
That should come in handy next year, when the city expects to see debt service related to the Millville Town Center shopping center increase from slightly more than $200,000 to slightly more than $600,000.
Preparation for the increase is being done in part by good financial planning in the proposed 2014 budget, City Commissioner Lynn Porreca Compari said.
“That’s why we’re concerned with this year’s budget,” she said.
The city helped fund the shopping center project. A drastic overhaul of the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone program by Gov. Chris Christie several years ago meant no new additional state sales tax money would be sent back to municipalities in the program. City officials said they were counting on UEZ money to rebuild municipal coffers.
Quinn said City Commission could not foresee that change when it provided financial help for the shopping center.
“No one could see that we were going to have a terrible economy with no UEZ money,” he said.
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