New Milford enacts earned income tax

BY STACI WILSON

An earned income tax will be levied on working, New Milford Borough residents in January 2013.

After months of discussion and review, the borough council passed the one percent payroll tax as a way to stave off property tax increases.

The estimated revenue that will be generated by the tax is $98,000.

Councilman Ken Carey said, “We’re looking for a dollar for dollar drop in real estate taxes.”

And Councilman Larry White added the earned income tax revenue collected would be placed in an account and property taxes for 2014 would be lowered by that exact amount.

The move, said members of council, would help shift some of the tax burden off property owners which would help senior citizen property owners living on a fixed income from bearing the brunt of financing the borough.

Business owner Lynn Conrad said he thought the tax would place an extra burden on business owners in the town.

But council members said the tax would be paid by the business employees, not business owners and those that own the business property would actually see a reduction in the borough real estate tax in the future.

Another audience member was supportive of the addition of the earned income tax.

“We need the money,” she said also adding that she would be okay with the real estate tax holding at its current level. “We all want services. They are not free.”

Councilman Rick Ainey said, “Our responsibility is it be efficient. Let’s make sure we can cinder the roads.”

Conrad said coming to the meeting helped clear up some of his questions. “It helps a lot knowing what’s going on,” he said.

“Our whole intent is to lower property taxes,” Council President Teri Gulick said.

Several nearby municipalities are already collecting earned income taxes, including New Milford Twp., Bridgewater Twp. and Montrose.

The council has also been reviewing its FEMA required floodplain management ordinance update over the past several months.

FEMA does not allow much flexibility in how a municipality deals with campers in a floodplain, council members said.

And the council has been wrestling with the available options which include offering a variance to property owners or completely banning the campers in the floodplain.

Ainey suggested the borough offer property owners the variance, as it is detailed by FEMA regulations.

Council agreed and the updated ordinance will be sent to the state for review.

A resident requested the speed limit on Main St. (Rt. 11) be lowered to 25 mph from the current 35 mph. She also told council that a petition was circulating in the borough to have the speed on the town’s thoroughfare lowered.

“We are the only town with a 35 mph speed limit,” she said.

She reported that trucks were driving through town going faster than 45 mph.