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Slight Boost in Ocean Tax Rate

 

coaster-news-200By DON STINE

Ocean Township property owners will see an average $48 increase in municipal taxes under the township’s 2014 budget, which was adopted without public comment at last week’s Township Council meeting.

It was hoped that the increase could be lowered to about $41 using pension savings to lower the tax rate.

“But instead we used that money for our capital improvement program to enhance our road improvement projects due to the terrible winter we had,” Chief Financial Officer Stephen Gallagher said.

Gallagher said the new budget will result in a $48 overall increase for an average home assessed at $398,995.

Mayor William F. Larkin said the Ocean Township municipal budget has remained pretty stable over the past few years

“It’s coming in within state guidelines (on spending increases) in spite of the fact we have our standard increases every year, such as pensions and health care costs. We always review the budget with a watchful eye to be within these guidelines and not going outside of them so residents will be satisfied with the work we’ve done to keep it to only a moderate increase,” he said.

The total $34,222,003 budget, up $334,485 from last year’s $33,887,518 budget, has a $20,668,097 tax levy, or the amount to be raised through taxation. Last year’s tax levy was $20,069,785

Gallagher said state aid to the township has remained the same as last year at $2,528,544. The township applied $6,625,000 in surplus toward the budget, leaving $675,000 in remaining surplus.

Gallagher said increases in this year’s budget are from usual contractual items and salaries and wages. He said that a new, fee-based child care program in the township also added a bit to the increase.

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