The last 10 days have been pretty hectic. I wanted to post this video from the March 17th, Middletown Board of Education meeting last week but wasn't able to get around to it. This meeting was important because the proposed budget for the upcoming 2017/2018 school year was presented to the board.
I watched just the first 20 minutes of the video and wanted to get back to it before posting. However, the Asbury Park Press published an article "Pension ruling blows hole in Middletown school budget", a few days ago and listed all the juicy details that I hadn't got around to viewing. The article was enlightening . If you haven't read it, I think you should. It's not good news for homeowners.
MIDDLETOWN - Annual school taxes for homeowners would jump by $217 on average under a new budget that was forced to account for a multimillion dollar mistake made by the school board 10 years ago.Continue Reading
For the first time, the school board is circumventing the 2 percent cap on property tax increases — nearly doubling it in fact — as the district attempts to move ahead with a $160 million spending plan that includes the equivalent of seven new full-time employees as well as $1.4 million for new turf field and track at High School South.
Also tucked into the budget is an unanticipated $763,000 payment for the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund. The money, which represents the first of five annual payments, is a longtime district fear that has now become reality....
All I'll say at the moment is, I'm not happy. I think some of the frills need to be placed aside for the time being until the pension payments that the BOE has to repay are completed, then they can look at replacing the turf field and track at High School South, along with some of their other proposed capital projects.
A $217 tax increase, on average, for homeowners is a very tough nut to crack. I think this is going to be a big deal!