Brick Mayor John Ducey unveiled the township’s 2021 operating budget this week, proposing a slight tax increase for the average homeowner after a tumultuous year battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Ducey proposed to the township council a $106,623,267 spending plan, representing an increase of less than 1 percent. For the owner of a home valued at $299,900, the township’s average, the municipal portion of their property tax bill will rise $44.98 per year. The increase adds up to 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed real property valuation.
The mayor said this year’s budget is characterized by “fiscally conservative principals and practices that have been established over the previous seven budgets.”
The increase in spending this year is being driven by four main factors: $1 million in bond principal payments, $771,000 in police salaries and wages, $666,000 in state-mandated pension contributions and $193,000 in EMT salaries and wages.
“This past year has been one of unprecedented challenges,” Ducey added. “Our employees have done an exemplary job meeting those challenges and they’ve continued to provide an exceptional level of service to the people of Brick Township.”
Brick police saw one of their busiest years ever in 2020 between the coronavirus pandemic and a string of unrelated homicides that drove $931,246 in overtime payments.
“Despite the four large increases, by sharpening our pencils, looking for savings and doing more with less in other areas of the budget, we were able to keep this year’s total increase to under $1 million,” said Ducey.
Ducey said the township’s debt stands at $147 million, down 18.25 percent from when he took office seven years ago, representing a decrease of over $20 million. Ducey has reduced the township’s debt load every year since taking office as part of a long-term plan.
Under Brick’s form of government, the mayor introduced the annual budget, which must be approved by a vote of the township council after a public hearing. That hearing is scheduled for the April 27 council meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. Ducey said the municipal portion of residents’ tax bills represents about 30 percent of a homeowner’s total property tax burden. The remaining 70 percent is dedicated to the school district, county, fire districts and open space.