SEA BRIGHT – Borough residents will be facing a more than two-cent increase in the municipal portion of their tax bill.
The Borough Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to adopt its 2012 municipal which contains a 2.6 cent increase for every $100 of assessed property value, with the municipal tax rate going to .765 cents.
For the average $300,000 home in the borough, that translates to a $78 annual increase in the tax bill, according to Michael Bascomb, the borough’s chief financial officer.
The largest expenses associated with the approximately $3.9 million budget, are police salaries and pensions, debt service for substantial capital projects and employee health insurance costs. Bascomb said.
“We’re working to stay within our range,” of expenses, with the budget coming in under the state mandated 2 percent levy cap, he said.
The borough utilized $520,000 of its approximately $793,000 surplus to help offset costs, he said.
Officials were forced to enact an $11,000 emergency expenditure last year to address damage to the borough’s beaches from Hurri cane Irene. But the beach utility, which operates the borough resource, is self-sustaining, Bascomb said.
When the budget was introduced on March 20, Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman William Keeler blamed the loss of state aid for contributing to the tax hike, saying the borough stood to lose $135,000 this year.
Much of that money, Bascomb explained, is the loss from the state’s administering the energy tax.
Municipalities are complaining that the energy tax was established to provide some local property tax relief, Bascomb said. However, he continued, the state does the collecting and hasn’t provided all that was promised, in essence, shortchanging the towns.
The borough tax rate is actually about $1,000 less than the state average, he said.
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