An increase to South Brunswick homeowner taxes mirrored the state average last year, as New Jersey finally experienced long awaited tax relief in 2012.
South Brunswick's average total tax bill was $8,520.57 last year, which remained above the state average of $7,870.28, but fell in line with the statewide average increase of 1.7 percent, according to Star-Ledger analysis.
The Star-Ledger noted that property taxes statewide rose 2.4 percent in 2011, the first year Gov. Chris Christie’s 2 percent cap was in effect. But the trend of lower increases could be reversed because of Hurricane Sandy, according to the report.
The statewide 1.7 percent increase was the smallest bump since 1991, and local property taxes rose by a smaller percentage than the 2 percent cap for the first time since the measure was enacted by Gov. Chris Christie in 2010, according to the report. Thanks to those reforms, Christie said, New Jersey taxpayers would save $337 million on their property taxes in 2012. And over the next 30 years, he said, savings from those reforms statewide will come to $132 billion.
South Brunswick's average municipal bill came in at $1,589.53, well below the state average of $2,324.66, while South Brunswick's average school bill came in at $5,413.39, which was above the state average of $4,120.16, according to the Ledger.
By comparison, North Brunswick came in with an average municipal bill of $1,887.55, a school bill of $4,887.27, and a total bill of $7,877.11; East Brunswick had a municipal bill of $1,733.38, a school bill of $5,764.01 and a total bill of $8,794.22; and Plainsboro had an average municipal bill of $1,430.30, an average school bill of $6,366, and an average total bill of $9,265.23. Only East Brunswick, with an average increase of 0.8 percent, fell below South Brunswick's 1.7 percent increase among neighboring towns.
which increased by 1.15 percent and lowered the general fund tax levy by about $630,000 to $96.2 million. But the tax rate increased by about 5-cents to $2.85 per $100 of assessed valuation due to a drop in South Brunswick's total assessed value.
In April, the Township Council approved a $47.9 million municipal budget that kept the tax rate flat at 72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
The Ledger noted that property tax bills rose in 447 of New Jersey's 566 municipalities in 2012. Executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Bill Dressel told the Ledger that recent changes to state laws that reduced pensions, health benefits and arbitration awards for public employees had an even greater impact than the 2 percent cap.
That bill made various changes to the manner in which the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Judicial Retirement System (JRS), the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) operates and to the benefit provisions of those systems, according to a release from the Senate.
The bill also required all public employees and certain public retirees to contribute toward the cost of health care benefits coverage based upon a percentage of the cost of coverage.
To read the Star Ledger's full report, please click here.Town CountyAverage County BillAverage Municipal BillAverage School BillAverage Total BillPercent Change from 2011 South BrunswickMiddlesex$1,517.66$1,589.53$5,413.39$8,520.571.7% StatewideAverage$1,425.45$2,324.66$4,120.16$7,870.281.7%