One of our goals, if elected to the Garwood Borough Council, is to ensure a stable municipal tax levy, a trend begun under the current Democratic leadership. It’s a fact that the municipal tax was frozen twice over the last 4 years. A closer examination reveals the average municipal tax increase over the last five years (2017-2021) is $34 per home assessed at $100,000. Here is a chart that shows the last 20 years, using a 5-year average to determine tax increases.
|Municipal Tax Increase
This average increase, when compared with the fifteen preceding years, shows how committed the Council has been in limiting the financial burden on taxpayers. If elected, we would seek to continue this trend.
In addition, one of the financial tools that allow the council to purchase big-ticket items such as a ladder fire truck or a street sweeper is bonding. Bonds allow the municipality to pay the cost of this equipment over many years at an extremely low-interest rate. This allows the Council to keep up with the financial demands of running the town, without placing an undue burden on local taxpayers. While our opponents have criticized bonding for needed equipment, our net debt percentage is currently well under the 3% maximum mandated by the state. In fact, our current debt percentage is less than our neighbors in both Clark and Cranford, as shown in this table.
|Net Debt Percentage
Finally, we are committed to evaluating shared service agreements that save the town money in order to maintain high-quality services and will seek out new shared service agreements if they make financial sense for Garwood. The current shared service with Fanwood saves our town nearly $50,000 in salary and over $20,000 in health benefit costs by sharing a state-mandated superintendent of the DPW. In fact, Garwood taxpayers have saved $240,000 since 2015 with this shared service. Since this administrator is not permitted to do any physical labor, having a full-time Superintendent in Garwood is not cost-effective. If elected, we would continue to support this agreement in order to continue the savings for our taxpayers.
During our campaign, we have enjoyed the opportunity to speak to many residents who share our concerns about taxes and fiscal responsibility. We believe that our primary responsibility to the residents of Garwood is to continue the fiscal priorities of the current council by stabilizing taxes while also looking for new ways to both save money and make necessary investments in our infrastructure.
Clarissa Nolde & Jeff Jotz
Democratic Candidates for Garwood Borough Council