There are no plans to increase the municipal tax rate, sewer and water fees or beach badges in Avon this year.
Borough officials had hoped to introduce the new budget this week but state officials asked all communities which received aid after the Sandy superstorm to hold off.
At a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners to discuss the budget, Borough Administrator Timothy M. Gallagher explained that the state has not yet decided if the funds will be treated as a grant or a loan. Avon received $1.2 million to help with municipal expenses due to a lack of taxes and for other reasons following the storm.
The borough has been paying interest on the funds but according to Gallagher, no matter what the state decides going forward, a tax rate increase will not be necessary for municipal purposes.
Increased beach revenue will allow the borough to add 11 special police officers this summer. Gallagher said that $23,000 of the cost of the specials will come out of the regular budget, covering duties performed away from the beachfront.
Police Chief Terry Mahon said that Class 2 special officers will work 21 shifts per week for 15 weeks from May 30 through Sept. 11. Three Class 2 officers will be on duty each day and their shifts can be staggered to provide coverage when it is needed the most.
The chief said that approximately 40 candidates are being considered for the available posts. Many of the applicants are female, Mahon said, and several are multilingual. At two public meetings earlier this year, a number of residents said they hoped special officers could have an increased presence at both the men’s and women’s restrooms on the boardwalk.
The amount allocated to pay lifeguards will be raised in order to provide more protection. That increase will come out of beach revenue.
The commissioners discussed the hours of operation on the beach and what effect the schedule might or might not have on the challenges posed to the borough during last summer’s record attendance.
Commissioner Robert Mahon said he did not think the 5 p.m. closing time was the reason for the difficulties.
“Police presence is the way to address problems at the beach, not restricting access and hours,” he said.
Mayor John B. Magrini said that the borough must address both the needs of residents and visitors to the beachfront.
The police chief and the commissioners agreed that the changes planned for this summer should result in improved enforcement of beach regulations and a better experience for all beachgoers.
“The rules don’t stop at five,” Gallagher added.
The borough will purchase new police radios and at least one new portable speed limit sign.
Gallagher said that court support expenses will cost approximately $1600 less this year. Avon, Bradley Beach and Neptune City share the same municipal court room in Neptune City.
Approximately $300,000 is being allocated in capital expenses for repaving several of the lanes in the borough which run behind homes and parallel to major streets. Another $225,000 will go toward water improvements in a number of locations. The fire alarm system in the municipal building will be repaired and upgraded at a cost of $5000.