Edison Budget Calls For 5% Tax Increase

EDISON – Mayor Jun Choi unveiled his $118 million spending plan for the new fiscal year this week. It includes a proposed five percent increase in the tax rate, which the mayor emphasized was less than the rate of inflation.

Edison’s Township Council had clashed fiercely with the mayor on previous budget proposals, but this year Choi has four supporters on the seven-member legislative body. Within the next month, the council is expected to introduce the budget and begin public hearings.

Choi says his budget will bring financial stability to the township. “I have been and remain committed to restoring the fiscal integrity of our community by avoiding financial gimmicks and facing up to our fiscal realities,” the mayor said.

The budget proposal calls for a $78.3 million tax levy – a $4.1 million increase. The proposal also relies on $1 million in revenue from Hartz Mountain, the redeveloper who plans to convert the old Ford plant on Route 1 into a new retail and commercial center.

The Hartz revenue is part of the developer’s agreement with the township, according to the mayor. Edison should receive the payment when the firm receives its final site plan approval for the project, he said.

Edison taxpayers saw a 9.5 percent tax increase in 2006 and a 9.8 percent tax increase last year. Choi predicts that next year’s tax hike will only be 3.7 percent. Edison’s tax base increased $30 million this year, according to the mayor. The assessed value of the township’s properties grew from $7.34 billion last year to $7.37 billion.

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