Keeping Evesham Affordable
Municipal property taxes, which only make up about 14% of your total property tax bill, pay for our local police, road maintenance, trash, snow removal, street lighting, senior services, and other local programs and services.
Even before taking office, we knew that property taxes put a squeeze on too many residents in our state and town. That’s why we looked for solutions that would help us keep your municipal taxes down, like bringing in a grant writing service that has, in just a few years, helped out town receive around $3 million to pay for new playgrounds, road improvements, sidewalks, disability services, and open space.
Following an efficiency study we commissioned, we cut waste by reducing a number of redundancies, such as multiple deputy township manager titles, realigned positions and combined responsibilities, and reorganized our government to work more efficiently for residents and businesses. Those efforts are saving taxpayers a lot of money in the short- and long-run.
Creative solutions, alternative funding opportunities, and long-term planning has put Evesham on the right financial track, putting more money back into your wallets while still delivering the services and programs our town needs.
Managing Our Surplus
The COVID-19 pandemic created a fiscal emergency for towns all across our state and country. Disruptions in critical funding threatened our financial outlook in the short and long term.
Facing these threats to our financial well-being, we mitigated the loss of revenue by freezing non-essential spending and capital projects in 2020; looked at all opportunities for using federal funding for both salaries and expenses; and kept our surplus at an adequate level to maintain our positive bond rating, which helps our township get better interest rates.
Our budget surplus, which is in place for emergencies and trying times, took a hit because decreased revenues meant that it did not replenish itself like in other, normal financial years. We managed our reserves responsibly, funded our police, public works, and other services and programs for seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans, without service cuts or permanent layoffs, all while keeping our tax rate flat.
The preceding administration, from 2007 to 2018, used an average of 76% of the budget surplus to pay for annual expenses. Under our tenure, from 2019 to 2022, we have reduced that reliance down to an average of 59% of the surplus to fund our annual budget. With the combination of better management, cutting waste, and millions more in new, alternative revenue sources like grant funding, we have been able to cut the amount of our anticipated surplus used to fund operations to its smallest percentage in years without raising taxes or negatively affecting our ability to issue bonds or receive low interest rates.
Managing our Debt
We’re proud to say that we have been addressing our municipal debt service, which is the amount of the budget allocated to pay of bonds and loans. We are retiring old debt that has been on the books for over a decade while reducing our average annual debt service as a percent of our annual appropriations. From 2010 through 2018, annual debt service averaged 13.11% of the budget; We have gotten that down to of 12.36% of our 2022 budget, even in the face of financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and most of our current long-term debt obligations coming from the previous administration.
The Indian Springs Golf Course’s debt has been reduced more dramatically – its average annual debt service, from 2010-2018, was 44% of its expenses. Through better management, cutting waste, retiring old debt, and bringing in more revenue, the golf courses’ annual debt service was reduced to 28% of its expenses in 2022. This has resulted in open space recreation funds not being needed to pay for golf course expenses, making those funds available for our parks and recreation without raising taxes or cutting services.
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