Brick’s municipal tax rate would increase by 2 cents per $100 of assessed real estate valuation in 2016 under a budget proposed by Mayor John Ducey Tuesday night.
Ducey said the increase, which would cost the owner of a home assessed at $293,600, the township average, $59 is the result of policies put into place to stave off what would have been a 13 cent tax increase.
“The budget is a byproduct of a lot of different work from a lot of different people,” said Ducey, who detailed a number of costs that have risen for the township, including lingering financial hardships due to Superstorm Sandy recovery.
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By the Numbers: Brick’s Proposed 2016 Municipal Budget
- Total budget: $102,954,968
- Increase: 1.9 percent ($2,001,992) increase over the 2015 budget.
- Tax levy: $71,926,260
- Municipal tax rate: 70.1 cents per $100.
- Superstorm Sandy’s impact on the budget: 6.8 cents, or $6,997,884
Ducey said the township is in its third year of emergency loan repayments that adds up to a $6.9 million budgetary impact. Meanwhile, the township is still missing $357 million of ratables in its tax base that have yet to be recovered after the storm, which affects the budget to the tune of 2.4 cents. On top of those issues, Ducey said, a $2.1 million essential services grant that was provided to the township last year by the federal government was not made available this year.
“The effective loss from the ratables, the loans we have to pay back, and the removal of the grant was an 11.3 cent tax increase,” said Ducey.
The financial news got worse from there: healthcare costs for township employees rose by 9 percent and prescription drug coverage premiums rose by 35 percent.
The tax increase was kept to a relative minimum, Ducey said, because of cost decreases in a number of areas, including legal fees, engineering services and a reduction in worker’s compensation and disability costs due to better safety policies having been put into place. Further, the township looked for savings in other areas, reducing its animal control service costs by $135,000 and eliminating the outsourcing of its grant applications process which saved $134,000. Township debt was also reduced by $7.8 million in 2015, representing a reduced debt service liability.
“This year’s budget is a fiscally sound one that continues our work to put Brick Township on a path towards a more fiscally strong and responsible future,” said Ducey.
The 2 cent increase represents only the municipal portion of a resident’s tax bill. The school district and county government have yet to propose their spending plans for 2016.
Now that Ducey has proposed the municipal budget, it will be reviewed by the township council before it is formally introduced and adopted after a public hearing.