Cranbury’s budget funds Traffic Bureau’s return

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | Apr 8, 2018 | MonroeNow

The Cranbury Township Committee approved its $11.8 million budget on March 26 that provides enough funding to reinstate the Police Department Traffic Bureau.

Committeeman Jay Taylor said the budget is “bad news for speeders,” since there will be two dedicated officers for traffic matters.

The Traffic Bureau was essentially disbanded during the economic downturn as a way to cut costs but also maintain a level of public safety.

“During the economic downturn we had a few police officers retire and so we reallocated officers and one of the things we ended up doing was reallocating officers out of the Traffic Bureau,” Taylor said.

But with new ratables on the tax rolls, such as Amazon and Wayfair, the extra income allowed the Township Committee to add funding for two officers into the budget while not raising taxes.

“We’ve seen a real boom in construction in our warehouse district,” Mayor Glenn Johnson said. “The whole idea is to help make [living in Cranbury] more affordable [for residents].”

The $11.8 million spending plan would collect approximately $7.6 million in taxes. It also includes the potential to provide financing of $12.5 million in capital projects such as dredging Brainerd Lake, which is estimated to cost $5 million in addition to a host of other items. Financing of a capital project only covers the down payment needed, the rest of the funding comes from a council-approved bond ordinance.

The Township is slated to receive $467,000 in state aid for municipal purposes, if not cuts or changes are made to Governor Murphy’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget.

However, while appreciative of the aid, Johnson said he would have liked Cranbury to have received more funding. State aid for Cranbury and many New Jersey municipalities has remained flat for several years in a row.

The municipal budget is just one part of a property owner’s tax bill. The school district and Middlesex County budgets have not been approved. However, education officials did propose their preliminary budget that would increase taxes 3.55 percent for a total of $17.3 million. The preliminary budget is $18.9 million for the 2018-19 school year.