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Brick Council Introduces 2024 Budget With ‘Slight’ Tax Increase

Brick Municipal Building / Photo: Daniel Nee

Brick Municipal Building / Photo: Daniel Nee

Brick Township officials this week introduced the 2024 municipal operating budget, which comes with what Mayor Lisa Crate described as a “slight” tax increase to cover increasing costs, fully staffing the police department and better outfitting first responders and Public Works employees with equipment.

Brick’s spending plan for 2024 calls for a $117,737,525 budget, supported by a tax levy of $84,862,406. The remainder is covered by federal and state funding, plus grants and other revenue sources. Crate said for the owner of a home priced at the township’s median assessed valuation, the 1.9 percent increase in the budget would equate to a $98 hike in property taxes for the year.

“This year’s budget does require us to ask a little more of our community in the form of a slight increase in the municipal tax rate,” said Crate, who described the budget as “fiscally conservative, lean and responsible.”

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In Brick’s form of government, the mayor presents the budget to the township council annually. The council then votes to accept the proposed budget, and may modify it before final adoption, which is scheduled for the April 23 council meeting. A public hearing on the budget will also be held at that same meeting before the final vote is taken.

“This budget reflects the costs that come with exceptional services and programs of which I am deeply proud,” said Crate, emphasizing public safety and direct services for residents.

The budget funds all positions within the police department, and provides for replacing personnel as they retire, plus completing the Special Operations Building that will house specialized police equipment as well as enhanced and backup communications capabilities.

“Brick Township’s public safety needs are always a priority, and we are committed to a full roster in our police department, special police officers, dispatchers and EMTs – the most we have ever had in the history of our town,” said Crate.

Crate’s administration is also working in cooperation with the township’s Bureau of Fire Safety to design a public safety complex on the barrier island that will provide a working space for firefighters, police officers and EMTs year-round, and accommodate increased staffing levels in the summer.

The township is also planning to expand its dialysis transportation service for senior citizens, which has proven to be in great demand. Brick launched the service recently and has two buses filled to capacity nearly every day, the mayor said. A third bus is due to be ordered to expand the service.

“Our objective was clear: to provide a budget that provides these services and programs while adhering to the conservative fiscal principles and policies that has guided this government since 2014,” Crate said.

The budget also continues a plan initiated by former mayor John Ducey that incrementally reduces the township’s debt load each year, primarily by retiring more debt than it takes on by way of capital projects. Crate said the township was able to retire $3.7 million in debt over the last year, and since 2014, reduced the debt load from $168 million – its highest level ever – to $125 million as of Jan. 1, 2024.

“I pledge to you that we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure your hard-earned property tax dollars are being used and managed wisely,” Crate said.

The council accepted the budget as introduced unanimously. The municipal operating budget is separate from the public school district budget, county budget, and fire budget, among other taxing entities.

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