From Mayor Platt’s Office
The Township issued estimated tax bills for the first quarter of 2009. have already gone into great detail about why the state has forced us and 32 other fiscal budget municipalities to issue these bills, but I would like to offer an elementary breakdown of the average Cherry Hill tax bill since it was not contained in the estimated bills.
When you look at the average assessed Cherry Hill home the overall bill is broken down by four different taxing entities:
At the end of the day, residents have seen an increase in their first quarter bill over their fourth quarter bill, due to a $96 increase from the School District a $65 increase from Camden County and a $1.50 increase from the Fire District.
As a quick aside, while Camden County did increase this quarter, it should be known that throughout the fiscal year they did drop their overall equalized tax rate in Cherry Hill.
Once again I would like to point out that the municipal portion of the average bill that pays for police, public works, code enforcement and the public library dropped since the last fiscal quarter by about $20. Additionally, the Township makes up a total of 13 percent of the total tax bill.
On that note I would like to take a moment to reiterate that my administration has proactively been working to weather the national economic meltdown by making painful cuts including layoffs, department consolidations, position eliminations, salary freezes for municipal employees and a 10 percent reduction in pay for me, the majority of Town Council and our business administrator.
This process has been very hard, but it is only a harbinger for the future because I will continue to push for more savings and I will be approaching our six unions and vendors to work with us to cut costs. This is a historic time and we all need pitch in for the betterment of Cherry Hill.
Furthermore, we have aggressively looked for new savings and innovative ways to raise revenue, including the implementation of RecycleBank, securing funding for renewable energy sources and installing an in-house employee self-prescription program.
Additionally, I have made monumental advances in municipal employees carrying some of the heavy burden of healthcare like our residents working in the private sector. This includes higher co-pays and premium sharing. Like I have stated in the past, while we wait for DCA to decide if we will be a recipient of extraordinary aid, any funding Cherry Hill receives from Trenton will go directly toward tax relief for our community.
Now, moving forward, all first quarter tax bills, already in mail boxes, will be due on Feb. 1 with a grace period until Feb. 17. Questions related to the estimated tax bill can be directed to the tax collector at (856) 488-7880.
For more than a year I have been having a very public discussion about what my administration has been doing in light of a perfect storm caused by a severe global recession – which has seriously cut into the Township’s revenue – a significant drop in state aid, and rising state-mandated costs. These discussions and your pragmatic suggestions have been used to combat expenses and streamline the way government works. In fact, I had a battery of public meetings last year where I asked for ideas about cost cutting measures in these extraordinary times and I would like to continue to extend that hand, by continuing the conversation. Please contact me by calling (856) 488-7878 or email me at MayorPlatt@CHTownship.com.