An influx of just under $1.2 million from the state will enable Brick officials to lower a planned property tax increase and hire several new police officers.
The $1,196,675 from the state comes from a program announced by Gov. Chris Christie 10 days ago that provides assistance to towns affected by Superstorm Sandy. Brick’s tax base remains significantly reduced from pre-storm levels, meaning less tax revenue can be generated. The state funding is intended to fill the gap.
Mayor John Ducey said residents were facing a $44 annual average increase on the municipal portion of their property tax bills. That increase will reduced to $27 per year for the owner of a home valued at $293,600, the township’s average.
Additionally, Ducey said, the township will use a portion of the state funding to hire four new police officers, increasing the size of the department from 132 officers to 136 officers. The additional officers will help the department address the ongoing drug issues in town.
“As we all know, we have an ongoing heroin problem, and what we want these new police officers to do … is to have more community policing, more neighborhood watch programs, and more help for kids as they’re growing up so they don’t get involved in the heroin,” said Ducey. “Some of those programs were cut years ago, and that’s partially the reason for the problem.”
The amended budget calls for a tax increase of 0.9 cents per $100 of assessed real estate valuation. The township will hold a special budget meeting Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. where residents can address the governing body and the spending plan can be approved.