THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: SHARED SERVICES
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Dorothy Philbin | CNBNews Columnist
It was announced this week on the Haddonfield Police Department's Facebook site that a state grant of $75,000 had been received. The purpose of the grant is to study the feasibility of combining the Fire and Emergency Medical Services of Haddonfield, Haddon Heights and Barrington. It is surprising that Haddonfield would want/need to decrease their property taxes. After all, Haddonfield is rich, isn't it?
Well, the last year for which tax rates are available is 2019. At that time the average property tax rate for Haddonfield (which is 37th highest dollar amount of the 565 municipalities in New Jersey) is 3.125% which amounts to $16,121 a year. Haddon Heights' rate was 3.330% and Barrington was the highest rate of the three of at 4.400%. As an aside, Gloucester City's tax rate that year was 4.498%.When looking at property taxes, remember that the majority of the dollar amount goes to the schools - for the other towns. Gloucester City's school costs are mostly covered by Abbott, state, and federal funds. So, where do our tax dollars go?Haddonfield pays 75.3% of their school costs. Cherry Hill pays 72.4%, Voorhees pays 69.2%. Even lesser well-to-do districts pay more than we do. Mt. Ephraim pays 50%, Bellmawr pays 40% and Brooklawn pays 21.3% of their $7.3 million dollar school costs. Gloucester City pays just 10.3% of our $66 million school budget.Perhaps Gloucester City could apply for a $75,000 grant, which doesn't have to be paid back, to look into sharing services. How much could we save? Would that dollar amount be returned to the taxpayer in lower property taxes or just spent in another way unknown to the average taxpayer?