Updated: Proposed School District Budget Includes 1.2 Percent Tax Hike

2016 school tax rate

Graphic: Franklin Township Board of Education.

Update: The Board of Education adopted the 2016-17 budget at its April 28 meeting.

Original Story: Upward revisions in the assessed valuation of township property has nearly halved the tax increase originally called for in the 2016-17 Board of Education budget.

The proposed $163.2 million budget, which was sent for review to the Somerset County Superintendent of Schools on March 22, is powered by a 2016 current expense and debt service tax levy of $136,084,365, a 3.3 percent increase from the calendar year 2015 tax levy.

That translates to a 2016 tax rate of $1.47 per $100 of assessed valuation – a 1.2 percent increase from the 2015 rate – and means the owner of a property valued at the township average of $314,195 will pay an additional $53 in the school portion of property taxes.

At the board’s Feb. 22 meeting, the preliminary tax increase was set at $90 for the owner of an average-assessed property.

But that all changed after the township’s assessed valuations for 2015 and 2016 were revised upward. In February, the valuations were reported to be $8,951,061,702 and $9,057,400,648, respectively. In the March 22 presentation to the board, the 2015 and 2016 valuations were pegged at $9,058,493,716 and $9,246,202,748, respectively.

That change cut the calendar year 2016 proposed tax rate from $1.50 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.47.

The budget was helped by the 2016-17 state aid program, the amount of which is the highest amount of Pre-K state aid and the second-highest increase in its K-12 state aid in Somerset County.

The board will hold a public hearing on the budget at its April 28 meeting, after which it will be up for final adoption.

Residents no longer vote on the school district budget because the board voted to move school elections to the same date as the general election in November.

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