Karen Fornaro, CFO
(973)-543-4555 ext 121
2 West Main Street, P.O. Box 520
Brookside, N.J. 07926
The finance officer oversees all aspects of finance within the Township, including tax collection, tax assessment, payroll, purchasing and budgetary accounting. The finance officer administers the investment program, borrowing and repaying of debt and interest, the rendering of all tax bills, collection of all cash receivables and the maintenance of proper records associated with the safekeeping of funds.
The Division of Local Government Affairs, part of the State of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs, along with the Local Finance Board possess broad powers over municipal finance and budgeting. Together these entities promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the Local Bond Law (NJS 40A:2), Local Budget Law (NJS 40A:4), Local Fiscal Affairs Law 40A:5), and the Local Public Contracts Law (40A:11).
The State reviews municipal budgets and financing ordinances for compliance to the same. For example, State approval in required prior to the adoption of a municipal budget. In sum, the State of New Jersey is one of the most strict regulators of municipal finance in the country. The regulations protect local governments from the fiscal mismanagement and fiscal insolvency.
For further information see
Property Assessment/Ratio/Equalized Valuation:
Property is assessed by a certified tax assessor according to a standard measure of property, namely the true or market value. The market value is what a knowledgeable buyer would be willing to pay on the open market. Once a home is assessed, it is only reassessed if a change occurs that warrants reassessment or if a town reassesses. Periodically, town-wide assessments occur to re-value all the property in a town. The town reassessed its property in 1990. New construction and changed assessments occur as of October 1 of the pre-tax year. In 1998, the total assessed valuation of all property within the Township was $850,110,972.
Since homes are not assessed annually, the assessment does not keep up with market value. To account for this variance, assessments are expressed in terms of a ratio to true value. In 1999, the Township is assessing at an average of 87.97% of market value. The ratio, or equalized valuation, is then used to apportion the costs of county government or district schools equitably among taxing districts.
- Tax Appeals/Special Assessments:
- Components of Tax Rate/History:
- Tax Bill Calculation/Tax Billing:
Property taxes are levied as of January 1 on property assessed as of the previous calendar year. Tax bills are issued annually at the end of June. The bill is due in four installments namely February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1. Since the new tax rate is not determined until June of the current year, the February and May installments are estimated. In turn, the August and November installments are based on the newly certified tax rate for the current year less the estimated tax paid in the first installments. See the example below:
In the previous example, the average tax payer owed $8,005.71 in 1998. However, this was not paid in four equal installments. The first two installments (Feb, May) were estimates billed in the June 1997 tax bill. The last two installments (Aug, Nov) were billed in June 1998. These figures were determined by calculating the taxes due with a tax rate of $1.99 ($78,005.71) less the taxes that were billed for February and May.
Deductions for Veterans, and Senior Citizens or Disabled Persons, and their surviving spouses are available. Veterans are eligible for a $250 annual deduction. Seniors and Disabled Persons qualify for a $250 annual deduction if their income is $10,000 or less in the pre-tax year, excluding Social Security. Forms may be obtained from the Finance Office.
For further information, see www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation or www.irs.ustreas.gov
While taxes are due on February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1, a ten day grace period is in effect. After ten days, interest will be accrued back to the first day of the month. Interest is calculated at 8% for the first $1,500 and 18% thereafter. A 6% year end penalty will also be assigned for unpaid taxes in excess of $10,000 on December 31 of the current year. Liens will be sold on properties that have unpaid prior year taxes as of the date of a tax sale set by the Tax Collector. In order to permit time for payment of prior taxes plus interest and be removed from the tax sale list, homeowners will be duly notified if a lien is scheduled to be sold at tax sale. Furthermore, a tax sale list will be advertised in the newspaper in advance of the tax sale.
The average assessment in the Township is $402,297. In order to determine how much the average homeowner pays in taxes, the following calculation is used. The assessment is divided by $100 and multiplied by the tax rate (expressed per $100 of assessed valuation) to determine annual taxes. For example:
($402,297/$100)* $1.99= $8,005.71
The Township collects taxes to support the budgets of the county, the schools, and the municipality. As a result, the total tax rate is the sum of several tax rates. The municipal portion (including the municipal open space tax) represented $0.44 or 22% of the 1998 tax rate of $1.99 per $100 of assessed valuation. Tax rates are determined by taking the budget less outside revenues to isolate the amount to be raised by taxation. This amount is then divided by the total assessed valuation and multiplied by $100 to express the tax rate in terms of $100 of assessed valuation. See the following graphs and chart for a history of the tax rate.
Appeals of assessments are heard by the County Board of Taxation and the Tax Court of New Jersey. Appeals must be submitted on or before April 1.
Farmland property receives a preferential assessment based on productivity and agricultural or horticultural use of the land. Application for farmland assessment must be filed annually on or before August 1.
New Jersey budgets are based on the results of the prior fiscal year. The results of the prior year, however, are not finalized until February 10th when Annual Financial Statements are due to the State per statutory deadlines. As a result, municipalities must adopt temporary budgets to cover expenses from January 1st through the adoption of a budget for the new fiscal year. The budget deadlines per the Local Budget Law are as follows:
In order to meet the statutory deadlines, the Township begins its budget process in the fall. Departments submit requests and explanations of such requests which are reviewed administratively. The requests are compiled into a draft budget document which is reviewed by the Township Committee in budget workshops which are open to the public. As part of these sessions, departments and volunteer groups review their requests with the Committee. Necessary changes are made to the preliminary document per resulting policy directives. In February final results of the prior fiscal year are incorporated into the document in preparation of introducing the budget by February 10th.
The introduced budget is then published in the paper at least ten days prior to a public hearing. The public is allowed up to 28 days from the introduction of the budget to review the document prior to the public hearing. The public hearing and the final adoption of the budget typically take place on the same day, no later than March 20th per State regulations.
To view our budget webpage click here.