VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, April 11 held a public hearing during which no one questioned the 2024 municipal budget that included a 2.21-cent tax rate increase.

Commissioners commended members of the Finance Department and Auditor Leon Costello of Ford-Scott Associates of Ocean City for their work formulating the budget, admitting it was a difficult budget to accept.

Commissioner Tim Kriebel said the budget was “conservative,” but “investments in infrastructure and programs being added are not creating an undue burden on taxpayers.”

Commissioner of Finance Maria Mento said the city increased the amount of surplus funding it applied to keep taxes in check.

“Good work on this, Leon,” Mayor Lance Landgraf said. “We kept it as low as we could, but things are costing more. Our health insurance, salaries, fuel costs are still more expensive, and labor costs when you go to repair stuff is always more dollars than last time. It was a harder budget to get through, but we did it. This is a good budget for us because we need the dollars to keep the services at a level our residents expect.”

The $27 million budget presented was identical to the one introduced for municipal purposes at the last meeting but included an additional $17.8 million in school district funding approved at the Board of School Estimate meeting held March 28. The school district budget did not include a tax increase, but the board introduced a $900,000 bond ordinance to fund HVAC improvements at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex.

The board also introduced two ordinances increasing water and sewer rates by $75 annually.

Ordinance 2024-09 includes an annual fixed amount of $365 for water service, up $75 from last year. It also sites a variable rate of $1.15 per 1,000 gallons of water usage in the off season, and $1.40 per 1,000 gallons during the months of June, July and August.

Ordinance 2024-10 includes an annual fixed amount of $385 for sewer service, up $75 from last year, and variable rate charges of $4.70 for 1,000 gallons of discharge in the off season, and $5.70 per 1,000 gallons of discharge from June through August.

Public hearings on the ordinances will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25.


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Categories: Ventnor

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.