Hamilton Township residents “warned to brace for a wallop”

From the Trenton Times:

Future taxes seem grim Hamilton residents warned of big boost

Though the coming year’s budget has not been put to bed, township taxpayers have been warned to brace for a wallop in 2008.

Auditor Robert Morrison told the township council last week that a preliminary review of several budget items revealed an estimated 12-cent increase in the 2008 tax rate. The projected $6.2 million shortfall would mean an extra $158 per year in taxes on a home assessed at the township average of $132,000.

The hike would be on the heels of the 3-cent tax rate increase included in the 2007 budget, which has yet to be passed.

But township officials warn that projections are premature and much can happen before June when the new budget process begins.

“You need a crystal ball to know what the revenues will be next year,” township Business Administrator John Mason said. “Revenues fluctuate up and down and certain revenues are stable.”

Reached yesterday, Morrison stressed that the numbers are only estimates and do not represent an official accounting of next year’s spending. The calculations are based on assumed increases in salaries, health insurance, pensions and debt payments of more than $4 million. In addition, Morrison’s forecast removes from the 2008 budget $2.1 million in one-time revenues used this year that will not be available again.

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