LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners Wednesday, Feb. 19 introduced the 2020 municipal budget which holds the line on taxes.
The budget appropriates $8,871,931 for municipal services, up $214,202 over last year. The amount to be raised by taxation will increase $50,996 to $6,117,450. The tax rate will remain unchanged at 32.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation thanks to an $18.5 million increase in ratables since last year.
According to Chief Financial Officer Jenna Kelly, the budget includes added expenses, including a $30,000 increase for general administration, reflecting additional hours worked by newly hired Administrator A. Scott Porter.
Police salary and wages are up $46,559 over last year based on collective bargaining, and the borough budgeted an extra $48,775 to pay for a new police vehicle.
The borough will expand a program instituted last year to provide additional fire and emergency medical services to borough residents and visitors. The $30,500 increase will be used to expand the timeframe for paid staff at the Longport Volunteer Fire Department to respond to medical emergencies, most likely April to October. Last year, the borough budgeted $26,000 to provide volunteer firefighters with stipends to maintain a presence in the firehouse during the summer months.
The cost of paying Egg Harbor Township to provide police and fire dispatch services will increase to $270,450, up $7,878 over last year’s amount.
The Board of Commissioners also added a $25,000 salary line item to hire someone to manage and supervise summer programs at its beachfront recreation center.
Adjustments were made for the Municipal Court, as well. Although salaries are being reduced by $19,000, the borough added $27,000 to cover the cost of a shared service arrangement with Margate, where court sessions will be held, and the possible hire of a part-time violations clerk.
It is the second year the borough is funding the Longport Free Public Library. The library will receive $667,063 based on a state tax formula to support public libraries, up $10,466 over last year’s amount. The library will receive the funds and develop its own budget, keeping a portion of the funds in reserve.
The cost of bonding for capital improvements is up $195,493, Kelly said.
The borough will apply $1.07 million in surplus funds to the budget and maintains an additional $1.5 million in reserve.
Auditor Michael Garcia of Ford-Scott Associates of Ocean City will present the budget at a public hearing during the board’s next meeting 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 18.