By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, April 19 introduced its $10.34 million municipal budget that carries with it a 1.42-cent tax rate increase. The new tax rate is $.3568.
Property owners with a house valued at $1 million will pay $3,567.54 for municipal services in 2023, $141.74 more than last year.
The tax levy is $6,891,861, up 4 % from last year and accounts for 35.7 cents of the tax rate. The local library tax is $808,036, adding 4.4 cents to the tax rate. The $1,660,312 needed to educate the borough’s children adds 8.6 cents to the tax rate. Direct employee expenses account for 44% of the budget for a total of $4,550,699.
The budget appropriates $1,252,756 for debt service and $120,000 for capital expenses. The borough applied $1,205,000 in surplus funds to bolster the budget but maintains $1,007,411 for future use. The budget is below the 2.5% spending cap and 2% tax levy cap imposed by the state.
Police salaries and expenses are up $45,652 over last year, support for the Longport Volunteer Fire Department is up $13,209 and Beach Patrol salaries and expenses are up $58,531. Group health insurance expenses increased $120,000 over last year.
Assessments from new construction increased $27.4 million to $1,931,826,500.
Commissioner of Finance and Revenue Jim Leeds said it was “a tough year” for budgets everywhere.
“The entire staff worked very hard on it,” he said thanking Administrator A. Scott Porter and CFO Jenna Kelly for leading the team to develop the budget.
“We worked hard at it. It’s a good budget. We held the line for a long time,” Leeds said.
A second reading and public hearing on the budget will be held 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 17.
In other business, the board approved three ordinances setting salaries for the Police Department, Beach Patrol and employees not covered under collective bargaining agreements.
The new contract with the Longport Lifeguard Association provides 3.5% raises over three years. Lifeguard salaries range from $138 per day for a first-year guard to $215 per day for a senior guard with more than 18 years on the job. Lieutenants will earn $218.25 a day and guards will get $180.63 a day for boathouse work.
The board approved hiring two Class 1 Special Law Enforcement Officers who will serve from May 8 to Sept. 4 at a salary range of $15-$30 an hour.
It also approved a one-year professional services contract for consultant James M. Rutala of Rutala Associates, LLC of Linwood for planning and grant assistance not to exceed $10,000.
The board also introduced an ordinance to repeal the borough’s existing Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and replace it with an entirely new chapter that adopts new flood hazard maps and designates a flood plain administrator.
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