The Plainsboro Township Committee has introduced its $24 million budget for 2011.
The budget, introduced at the committee’s meeting on March 23, includes the restoration of three police officer positions but carries less than a penny increase on this year’s tax rate.
Plainsboro’s total $24 million budget will increase overall by 3.7 percent — $863,205.50 — but its tax rate will increase by .75 cents. An owner of a home assessed at the township average of $389,000 would see an increase of $29 in his or her municipal tax bills this year. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26.
The proposed budget is $1.28 million under the levy cap and $1.7 million under the state appropriations cap.
The committee originally discussed the budget earlier this month, and no changes were made before introduction. Mayor Peter Cantu said, though, that there may need to be a technical change to the format of the budget that may come later.
"New legislation was passed that requires the separation of the mandated library support on the tax bills," said Cantu. However, "there’s not a change in the overall budget at all."
Officials were able to find savings in staff reductions in three areas of the town this year. The full-time purchasing officer (with a salary and benefits of $108,000) was replaced with a part-time purchasing officer, which carries a salary of only $27,300. The IT coordinator assigned to the police department was terminated this year, and officials chose not to fill the position, which carried a salary and benefits of $111,800. According to police reports from June, Paul F. Legato, of Princeton, the township’s computer systems coordinator, was charged with theft after he allegedly purchased $11,000 worth of computer equipment with township funds for his own personal use.
The third position eliminated was the plumbing sub-code official (with a salary and benefits of $112,600). The duties have been assumed by the township’s construction official.
In addition, all township employees began contributing 1.5 percent of their total salaries to health insurance costs on January 1 — a savings of $108,000 annually.
On the other hand, the budget will provide funding for three new police officers as of July 1. However, the positions had existed in the past, but the township had been holding off on replacing the officers through attrition because of budget constraints. The police department has a current authorized force level of 35, but the township only has 32 officers on staff.
Next year, officials said the township hopes to add one more officer so it does not have to provide as much overtime and will have enough officers to cover shifts during other officers’ vacation and sick days.