One of the core duties of the Hopewell Township Committee is to deliver the services our residents expect for the lowest possible cost.
We take this responsibility seriously and work together each year with township professionals to zero-base expenditures and look for opportunities to save money and deliver services more efficiently. A good example of how we’ve increased efficiency is our investment in new, larger Public Works trucks over the past few years. Each of these vehicles adds an axle and has a longer and higher truck bed.
As a result, we are able to carry almost twice as much salt on each snow-clearing run, and pick up twice as many leaves and brush in the fall and spring, before needing to return to the municipal complex to reload or drop off materials. In a township of almost 60 square miles, this results in significant savings.
There is another strategy we’ve employed to help hold the line on taxes. The committee is working to strengthen our ratable base, contributing to a lower tax rate for township residents.
Hopewell Township’s ratable base is the total property value of all the businesses, retail outlets and residences in our community. Taxes are determined by applying the total monies that need to be raised against the total township ratables, such that higher ratables reduce the tax burden.
In 2021, the township’s total ratable base was just over $3.8 billion dollars. With the successful reinvention of the BMS and Merrill Lynch campuses, our ongoing efforts to attract new small businesses and stronger home values, our ratable base has grown in each of the last two years, increasing by 1.8% in 2022 and an additional 2.7% in 2023, to almost $4 billion dollars.
This means that the cost of municipal services, our schools, the fire district and other services in a given year are spread over a larger base, which can reduce an individual resident or business’ tax burden. See the table below for an example of how small changes in our ratable base in 2022 led to a 2% reduction in the overall tax rate for residents.
This represents real savings for our residents and small business community. Further, increases in our ratable base not only impact the municipal tax rate, but also county, school district and fire district tax rates.
We will be introducing our 2023 Municipal Budget at the April 3 Hopewell Township Committee meeting and sharing additional insights on where township finances are headed. With the continued strengthening of the township’s ratable base and new, anticipated revenues from PILOT agreements starting in 2024 or 2025, as well as our ongoing efforts to reduce spending, we foresee additional opportunities ahead on the budget and will continue to manage it thoughtfully and strategically.
I look forward to sharing more details on our 2023 Budget next month. If you have questions or other ideas on how we can make township government more effective and efficient, please feel free to reach out to me or any one of the other committee members. My direct email is email@example.com or you can reach me via phone at (609) 439-8044.