This week Subscript introduces our new Local Series. We are bringing you legal learning from a local perspective out of our home base in Montclair, New Jersey.
Since today is a good day to think about our civic taxpaying obligations, we thought we would start with a look at where our property taxes go. In New Jersey, a residential property owner pays taxes to the municipality, the county, and the school district. They all come in the same bill, and the revenues are dispersed to each place in part.
We start you with a post that compares some budget and tax basics of three towns: Comparing Montclair, Bloomfield, and Jersey City. See notable factors of the towns’ budgets, such as average residential value, amount of state aid received, and amounts that go to the town versus the county or the school district. Digging a bit deeper, we have itemizations of Montclair Appropriations and also of Essex County Appropriations. These two posts show you, first of all, what sorts of things each is responsible for. Next, you might be surprised by some of the numbers. Did you know the Montclair fire department spends more than ten times than the town spends on refuse collection and disposal? Or that 27% – a whopping $211 million – of Essex County appropriations go to the Public Safety Functions (correctional services, prosecutor, sheriff)?
As our Local Series continues, we will provide gradually broader legal context to issues that make sense from the perspective of a local resident. The issues will eventually merge into our Mapping Current Events series, which displays the federal perspective and works its way down.
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