Mayor Jackson: ZERO Increase in Muni Tax Rate

Mayor Jackson: ZERO Increase in Muni Tax Rate
Posted on 01/22/2020
Mayor Jackson: ZERO Increase in Muni Tax Rate

Notice from Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson:

The 2020 budget for the Township of Montclair will be officially introduced for Council consideration next month. 

I am pleased to report that the budget will include a ZERO increase in the municipal tax rate. As you may recall, the Township achieved a zero increase in 2019. These back-to-back zero tax increases are a first in township history and I want to make sure that this milestone is noted.   

Here’s a little more context. In the fifteen years prior to this Council, the average annual tax increase was 5%. The eight budgets delivered by this Council average a little more than 1% annual increases. During this same period, average residential property values have increased nearly 24%, moving from $507,000 to $627,000, while municipal taxes increased less than 10 %. The bottom line is that the municipal tax rate dropped by 11.4% since 2012. 

It’s also no secret that debt reduction has been at the forefront of Council initiatives. In 2012, when this Council took office, the Township was saddled with $223 million in debt and a pedestrian AA- credit rating. Our financial discipline and vigilance paid off in 2016 when our credit rating was raised to AAA, the highest rating possible. Montclair joined the ranks of the top 5% of New Jersey municipalities with this distinction. The 2020 budget will continue the momentum and debt will be reduced to approximately $163 million, a staggering $60 million or 27% reduction from our 2012 balance. 

I hasten to add that we weren’t standing still while reducing debt; a ton of projects were completed and investments made simultaneously. We’ll go into more detail next month, but a modernized municipal fleet, 60+ miles of paving and curbing, miles of utility main replacement, and park renovations are all completed. 

While kudos are due to the entire Council and all of our staff, I wish to commend, in particular, our Financial Consultant Robert Benecke (Principal, Benecke Economics), CFO Padmaja Rao, Deputy Township Manager Brian Scantlebury, Township Manager Timothy Stafford, and Deputy Mayor McMahon and Councilor Hurlock who serve with me on the Council Finance Committee for their tireless efforts.

Robert Jackson
Township of Montclair, New Jersey