OCEANPORT: Borough residents will be seeing a small tax increase this year under the municipal budget introduced by the borough council on April 6.
Borough Administrator Ray Poerio said the budget totals $8.7 million and the amount to be raised by taxation is approximately a $240,000 increase over last year. The local tax rate for 2017 is 55.9 cents per $100 of assessed value; an increase of 2 cents over the 2016 rate. That means the owner of the average borough home assessed at $448,000 would see a municipal tax increase of $93.67.
"Last year, your taxes when up $91.84, so the difference between the tax increase you got last year to the tax increase you got this equates to a $1.83," Poerio said.
The capital budget includes $1.6 million and includes road projects, check valves for outflow pipes to reduce flooding, replacing department of public works equipment, repairs done to the Port Au Peck Firehouse and video surveillance for the borough's police vehicles.
Poerio said the borough had two "really good things happen," the first of which was waiver on the cash down payment on an $11 million bond ordinance to acquire and renovate the borough's new municipal complex at Fort Monmouth.
"That would have added $550,000 to this budget...that would have catastrophic," Poerio said.
The second issue was that the borough owed about $600,000 to FEMA for overpayments.
"This municipal budget addresses that and starts us out with a clean slate, it's like having a credit card and carrying a balance and now you have no balance," he said.
Poerio said he worked for long hours with the borough's department heads to come up with the budget.
"It was kind of a hybrid of 0-based budgeting, you started out with nothing and had to work to justify how you got up to a certain point," Poerio said.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for the May 18 council meeting. Following the hearing, the budget will be up for adoption.