Bridgewater Residents to See $32 Increase in School Taxes
And Raritan residents will see a decrease in their taxes.
The Bridgewater-Raritan Board of Education approved its 2013-2014 school budget Thursday with a $32 increase in taxes for Bridgewater residents.
The budget itself has a 1.86-percent tax levy increase.
For Bridgewater residents with an average home assessment of $394,709, they will see an increase of about $32.19 on their school taxes.
Raritan residents, with an average home assessment of $320,005, will see a decrease in their school taxes of $0.20.
"Although the proposed budget tax levy is going up 1.86 percent, the impact of the tax rate has other variables, namely rateables of both communities," said business administrator Peter Starrs.
In Bridgewater, Starrs said, rateables have gone down 4.2 percent this year, and in Raritan, they went down 0.19 percent.
"That all had an impact on the tax rate, and the amount of school taxes," he said.
But as for the budget itself, Cheryl Dyer, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said nothing has changed since it was introduced March 5.
Although the budget was approved by the board, board member Ann Marie Mead was the sole vote against it.
"I think it came in too high," she said. "I think we should have sharpened our pencils more."
Mead said part of the issue she had with the budget were the proposed seven floater positions that would be used if class sizes needed to be reduced. She said that since they only used six last year, she wasn't sure why seven would be needed this year.
"Especially when the population is going down, why do we need seven for this year?" she said. "I think we need to be very aware of these things, especially since residents are not voting on the budget."
Argonne Farm Drive John Corbitt said he is pleased about having the floating positions because he would like to see class sizes lowered.
"I have seen the positive impact the smaller class sizes have had," he said, referring to his two daughters' classes in Hamilton Primary. "Last year the class sizes were in mid teens, this year they were closer to 25, and I think there is a change in individualized attention."
"I appreciate that this is here as a line item," he added.
And resident Barry Walker said he still actually believes that not allowing residents to vote on the budget is doing a disservice to them.
"People are not engaged in the budget," he said. "This is the single thing we can vote on in spending. The budget keeps going up but the number of students has gone down. We need to find other avenues in spending and saving."