Mayor's 2024 Budget Letter


March 28, 2024

Dear Clinton Residents,

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. Time and again, Clinton residents, business owners, and employees demonstrate their compassion and determination as a community.

The Mayor and Council introduced our 2024 budget on March 27, 2024, with the public hearing and adoption scheduled for April 24, 2024.  Over the last twelve years, we have worked diligently to establish a strong financial base, pay down debt, establish a master plan for infrastructure, and build a cash reserve. We have continued to maintain a healthy surplus, using it judiciously and striving not to use more than we can regenerate.

The good news is that last year, our CFO went out to bid for our banking services and was able to secure interest-bearing accounts that brought in over $214,000 in revenue. Additionally, our construction office realized over $194,000 in revenue. While this is excellent news, it is not an annual guarantee. Therefore, while it helps us this year, we cannot depend on them as recurring revenue streams.

What does that mean for you? Our tax rate in 2023 was .8169. In 2024, our tax rate will be .7868. We were able to reduce it this year by using more of our surplus (which we have been building up) as well as the benefits of the revenues generated last year. This means that the tax rate is down by three full points. Our ultimate goal is to keep the Town on sound financial ground with a healthy savings and offer relief to taxpayers whenever we can.

We have all seen our home values soar over the last several years. While this is great news, it does impact the taxes that we pay. And while the town has decreased its rate, we only account for 26% of your tax bill. The remaining 74% includes local and regional schools as well as the county.

Going forward, we expect certain revenues to remain flat or decrease. The line items we expect to be impacted are Municipal Court Fines and Costs, Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee (the former Holiday Inn has begun transitioning to an assisted living facility, which will still generate tax revenue but not the additional hotel/motel tax), and our Energy Tax Receipts from the state, which are remaining at the same level as 2023.

Now, let's delve into the budget. Currently, our ratable base is up by about $33M. For more information on the Town’s assessment process, please see the FAQs available on the town’s website (

We continue to maintain both a healthy surplus and a sound financial management plan to keep the Town financially strong. This planning includes proactively maintaining infrastructure and paying down debt. However, even with the Council’s frugal approach, there are increasing costs for items such as health and liability insurance, and pensions.

We have allocated additional funding to Recreation to help cover the costs of the events they host each year, as well as to the Economic Development Committee to boost our small business community through branding, signage, and increased tourism to our downtown. We are funding an online recreation platform that will allow individuals to reserve and pay for recreational facilities using a credit card and assist our summer recreation program next year with online registration and camp payment with a credit card.

We have kept money in our affordable housing line item to prepare for Round 4 in 2025. While the Governor signed legislation placing responsibility in the Department of Community Affairs, there are still many questions to be answered and will require our planner and attorney to work with us to address our potential future obligation.

Our Shade Tree Commission received the funding necessary to continue to manage our trees, working in partnership with JCP&L, to address those that pose an imminent threat as well as the treatment of our existing trees and planting of new ones.

We had small increases in other line items such as roads to ensure we have salt for the rest of the year, especially as we move into November and December. Garbage and recycling costs have gone up, and while we have kept the garbage utility rates flat, the cost to the town has increased slightly.

I hope this letter provides a comprehensive explanation of the Town’s 2024 budget. As always, feel free to reach out to me at 908.399.8921 or, our CFO Kathy Olsen, or our Business Administrator Rich Phelan.  The public hearing on the budget will be on April 24, 2024, at 7PM.  The meeting will be held in person with a Zoom option available for those unable to attend in person. However, if there are any issues with Zoom, we will continue the meeting in person.

On a personal note, I again want to thank each of you for your patience as we have navigated these last several years. As we move forward, remember to continue supporting our small business community. We are all in this together, and together we will emerge stronger.

Stay safe.


Janice Kovach