MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, April 16 held a public hearing and unanimously adopted the city’s 2020 municipal budget during a teleconferencing meeting.
Chief Financial Officer Lisa McLaughlin presented highlights of the budget, which includes a tax levy of $23,157,230 and a flat tax at 61.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. A homeowner with the average assessment of $500,000 will pay $3,090 for municipal services this year.
McLaughlin said the last tax rate increase was $85 in 2013.
“You should all be proud of the a strong, fiscally responsible budget that is before you,” she told commissioners.
Auditor Leon Costello of Ford-Scott Associates of Ocean City said the city “couldn’t be in a better financial position” and called it a “solid, solid budget.”
The city continues to enjoy the benefits of added ratables resulting from rehabilitation and improvement of the city’s housing stock. The city added $37 million in new ratables since last year, bringing the city’s total assessed valuation to $3,747,197,700.
As a result of the increased valuation, interest on investments, fees and permits and ambulance billing, the city had a $915,000 or 2.79% increase in revenue.
The city applied $3.2 million in surplus funds to the budget and maintains $4 million in reserve, which will help with future budgets, she said.
Appropriations increased $915,000, with salary and wages up $97,568, or less than 1%, McLaughlin said. Other expenses increased approximately $300,000 or 3.95% over last year, she said.
The city had a $469,000 or 10.86% increase in debt service after issuing new bonds in 2019 to finance capital improvements.
“Next year’s debt service will not have as significant of an increase,” she said.
The budget is under the 2.5% state-imposed spending cap by $2.2 million, and under the 2% tax levy cap by $710,000.
“I feel we are in an excellent position financially going forward,” she said. “It remains to be seen how this year will play out with what’s going on in society.”
In other business, the board agreed to accept bids to demolish part of the Public Works complex on Monmouth and Benson avenues. The area being demolished includes a concrete building with four bays and a smaller metal building. It would be the first part of the city’s long-range plan to replace the complex.
According to Zoning Officer Roger McLarnon, the city received three quotes for the work but they exceeded the $40,000 bid threshold amount so the city must go out for a formal bidding process. Bids will be due on a date yet to be determined.
The city also awarded low bidder S. Batata Construction, Inc. of Parlin a $91,700 contract to install curbs and gutters at the intersection of Huntington and Fulton avenues. Three other bids were received between $95,798 and $99,507.
Additionally, engineer Ed Dennis of Remington & Vernick Engineers reported that striping on Atlantic Avenue in the northern end of the city where roadwork was done would be completed by the end of the day on April 16.
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