WEST LONG BRANCH: Municipal taxes will hold for 2017 over 2016, with increases coming almost totally from the revaluation approach introduced recently to keep property rates increases gradual instead of a big jump as all properties used to be reassessed at five year intervals in the past program process. That meant larger jumps every few years.
The gradual approach had the 2017 borough budget for the municipality announced at the May 3 meeting for an average value property of $420,497 (the 2016 average) the new program's gradual approach takes the average to $429,421. As an estimating tool for owners, if no individual's property reassessment was made, a small tax rate increase brings a $400,000 valued home up about $40 for the year. A $500,000 revalued home will go up $50 on this year's municipal tax.
The county is still working on its municipality numbers, but any change from here will be minor, per Registered Municipal Accountant Robert S. Oliwa and the borough's CFO Michael Martin. Final numbers should come by May 17th council meeting, Councilman Steve Bray said.
In other council news:
• Councilwoman MaryLynn Mango reported the Shade Tree Commission Arbor Day tree planting went off well on the 25th at Frank Antonides School where a 10-foot dogwood was planted. Fifth grade students gathered around, along with school staff, the Superintendent of Schools Tom Farrell, BOE President Brian Kramer, Principal Michael Filippo, commission members and some parents.
Mrs. Mango, standing in for Mayor Janet Tucci, shared the importance and benefits that trees bring to the community: clean water, healthy air (oxygen), water level control (flooding) as well as their beauty.
Shade Tree Commission volunteers are being sought. Mango added that Summer Recreation kicks off on June 26.
• Councilman Chris Neyhart said the now annual Fishing Derby is set for June 10 at Franklin Lake. Game fish will be added to the fun. Fishing is free and lots of kids enjoying the fun-filled morning, parents too.
• Councilman John Penta addressed a resident's request for repaving Sherman Avenue where resurfacing to correct rough road conditions is needed. It is part of the borough's overall program with other "in need" streets on the schedule for 2017.
• Potholes are now being actively attended to provide safety and avoid vehicle and tire damages. Street improvement efforts has been slowed by loss of employee hours due to illnesses and vacations.
• Upkeep by DPW on fields around town may get help from Monmouth University. The borough's MU Liaison Committee has discussed the need with MU. The borough will also be seeking financial aid from MU, as in past years, for Fourth of July Fireworks support.
• "The rooster is back" a resident in the Maryland Avenue area told Mayor Tucci. The complaint has resurfaced and was an all afternoon thing this past weekend as nice weather had people outside in their yards. The mayor and police will be addressing the situation with the rooster's owners.