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Library Gets Its Own Tax, But Borough Tax Increase Remains at 3.13%

Statewide legislation determines that libraries will get their own line on property taxes.

The Chatham Borough Council approved a resolution to introduce the municipal budget Monday night.

The budget went through some changes since Tammie Kopin, the borough's chief financial officer, first , the most notable change pertaining to the library tax.

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that will give local libraries their own tax funding independent of municipalities. In the Chathams, residents will now see the library as a separate line item on their property taxes, along with schools, municipal taxes and county taxes. In the borough, the minimum library tax amounts to $757,825.24.

Another $17,000 was added to the budget for debt service. "We would have had to add $200,000 if we went to a bond sale June 1," Kopin said. "Instead in this budget, it's $17,000 for 75 days at no interest."

Chatham Township also gave $50,000 to pay for half of the cost of new radio equipment for the Chatham Emergency Squad, which, along with other first responders in the Chathams, moved to the county dispatch system this year.

The tax levy increase remained the same from Kopin's March 14 presentation, at 3.13 percent. However, the total amount of money to be raised from the tax levy went down because the library tax now is outside of the available municipal tax cap. The total tax levy decreased from $7,578,340 to $6,820,515, but the percent of the increase from 2010 did not change.

The tax rate increase also remained the same at 3.66 percent. This increase is lower than the average tax rate increase over the last five years, which is 4.30 percent. Council President Jim Lonergan noted on the tax rate that the fixed cost increases that the borough needed to take on totaled 3.5 percent.

"Those are things like salaries," Lonergan said. "You can kind of see what the gap is between those things that we have no choice to pay."

Kopin said on March 14 that the borough had exemptions from the state that would have allowed them to raise the tax levy up to 6.19 percent.

A public hearing on the budget will take place on April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chatham Borough Municipal Building.

The following has been appropriated as the 2011 Chatham Borough Municipal Budget:

Appropriations – Municipal Purposes $11,606,669.96 Appropriations – Reserve for Uncollected Taxes $2,021,912.25 Total General Appropriations $13,628,582.21 Less Anticipated Revenue other than Current Taxes $6,050,242.09 Local Tax for Municipal Purposes $6,820,514.88 Minimum Library Tax $757,825.24

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