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Borough Eying a Nearly 7-Percent Hike in Municipal Tax Rate

The tax increase is largely due to a rise in uncollected taxes. This story includes a correction to budget appropriation figures.

Borough commissioners are considering a 6.79 percent tax increase for this year's budget, which could increase the amount of taxes paid for local government service and operation by $147 yearly for the typical taxpayer.

Property owners with a home valued at the borough average of $491,359 will pay $2,318, up from $2,171.

The budget is expected to be introduced on March 27. The commissioners will meet tonight for a scheduled meeting at 7:30 at the . They are still exploring ways to trim the increase.

The tax hike is largely fueled by a nearly $500,000 increase in the reserve for uncollected taxes, a state requirement. The tax hike will still keep Haddonfield under a state-mandated 2-percent cap on increases on the amount raised by taxes, or the tax levy. The projected levy will be $10,639,666, up from $9,992,651.

Local officials said the rising amount of uncollected taxes appears to be a sign of the times.

"They don't have the money to pay their taxes," said Ed Borden, one of three borough commissioners, Haddonfield's highest elected officials. "It's very straightforward."

"There are people who would probably surprise all of us who are in that situation right now," Commissioner Tish Colombi, the mayor, chimed in.

The total budget appropriation is $13,313,400, down from $13,460,833 last year. The projected tax rate will be 47¢ per $100 of assessed property value, up from 44¢.

Haddonfield’s average property tax of $12,088.88 is nearly twice the state average at $7,776, according to the state Department of Community Affairs. Haddonfield has the second highest average property tax bill in Camden County. It trails Tavistock, an exclusive enclave at the tip of Haddonfield, enclosed mostly in an exclusive golf course. Haddonfield's property tax bills are 27 percent higher than Voorhees, $8,777.41, third in the county.

Bill Duhart March 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Hi Jeff H! You're right, the total budget is $13,313,400, down from $13,460,833. The tax levy will be $10,639,666, up from $9,992,651. The mistake is corrected.
Bill Tourtellotte March 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Hi Folks. Yes, taxes are high in NJ and in Haddonfield in particular, which is almost exclusively a function of state controlled funding formulas and issues. It is important to look at all of the information before drawing conclusions regarding the appropriateness or sensitivity of the actions of our local leaders. Additionally, it is important to separate the municipal and school tax rates and to understand what is behind those figures. In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the level of community outreach and communication by the BOE as well as the Commissioners. Further, local citizen advisory boards from all constituencies have been gathered and directly involved in the formation of those very budgets. These are not the budgets of our leaders anymore, these are OUR budgets. Folks are very welcome to get directly involved and invariably once they do, they begin to understand.
Bill Tourtellotte March 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM
For example, with the BOE, the facts stand in stark contrast to the tone of what was reported and discussed here so far. Folks who were concerned should now take substantial comfort in the fact that the BOE has recently adopted a budget that is almost unprecedented. The tax increase for residents for the school portion of our taxes is actually going to be ZERO for this year. By a return of some state aid, promotion of the tuition program, and other efficiencies, the district reports in their newsletter that in spite of the zero increase, they: -“were able to maintain and add to current staffing and programs, improve facilities, upgrade and develop state of the art technology initiatives, obtain and integrate a dynamic language arts curriculum, and implement a new teacher/administrator evaluation system. All of this was made possible by the dedicated efforts of BOE members, Administrators, Teachers, District Staff, and most of all, the Community of Haddonfield.”
Bill Tourtellotte March 16, 2012 at 04:06 PM
The very latest proposal for the Bancroft land by the BOE is modest and is slated for fields and open space. The school district’s primary location has the smallest land parcel in its peer group. It is absolutely land-locked and will be unable to meet the future needs and competitive challenges and pressures that are expected to present themselves in the coming years, decades and generations. It would be tremendously short-sighted to not plan for that. I would encourage folks to look into the future, while also being mindful of the plight of so many other once great communities that did not show such vision….. Thanks, Bill Tourtellotte
BETSY KUEHN March 24, 2012 at 10:56 PM
If taxes keep going up, there will be more residents that will not be able to pay their taxes on time. I have lived in my house all my life. My parents, now deceased, bought this house when they married in 1937. I would like to be able to stay here, but if these taxes keep going up, I'm not so sure. I am a federal employee and haven't received a cost of living increase in several years, but expenses such as taxes, gas, etc keep increasing. I would love to be able to do more home improvements, but just can't right now, just can't afford. Also trying to pay off a car. Thanks, Betsy Kuehn

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