Township Committee February 2017

Township Committee Meeting Highlights: January 9, 2017
All Committee persons were in attendance.
On January 9, 2017, the Harding Township Committee (TC) held its first meeting with new chairperson (aka mayor), Chris Yates. Nic Platt remains on the committee after his re-election in November. Deputy Mayor is Ms. DiTosto.
There were no new ordinances introduced.
The main business was the awarding of contracts to various professionals – lawyers, insurance brokers, engineers, planners, etc. Billing under all contracts remained the same except for three: engineer, Gary Hall, increased $5/hour to $195; tax appeal attorney, Fred Semrau, increased $3/hour to $143; auditor,
Suplee Clooney, increase 2% to $27,450.
Walking Path To Be Created. The TC formally accepted a grant that will partially fund a walking path in the Bayne Park/Town Hall area. The exact route of the nearly one mile long, gravel covered path is still being determined. The grant was for $42,500 while the total cost of the project is estimated at about $50,000.
Erratum: Last month we wrote that a tree ordinance was defeated by a vote of 3 to 2. In fact the ordinance passed by 3 to 2, with a modification proposed by a citizen. Township Taxes to Rise Approximately 1.8%. The TC had a work meeting before regular meeting. The preliminary budget, which will be presented at the February regular meeting, was discussed. As it currently stands, the budget calls for a 1.8% tax increase and a sharp increase in capital spending driven by more work on Kirby Hall (front porch, adding shutters), improvements to DPW building, and replacing equipment at our low income housing project, etc.
Remember this is just the municipal budget and related tax impact. Your municipal taxes account for about a quarter of your property tax bill. Three other uses (School, County and Open Space) make up the rest. Open Space tax has not been determined; thought the Open Space Committee has recommended an increase to the maximum of 5 cents from current 4 cents. And we have no word yet on what the Harding School Board or Morris County Freeholders areproposing.