WILDWOOD — An extra 50 cents an hour for local parking meters could bring the city an additional $84,000 this summer, an example of the kind of reliable revenue sources officials say is needed.
City Commission raised the rate for 2013 to $2 an hour to park at Wildwood’s more than 1,200 meters. The cost was $1.50 an hour at the end of the 2012 season.
The move, Commissioner Anthony Leonetti said, is an example of how the shore community can add revenue sources without relying on the one-time deals of the past.
“There’s not one community like ours that does not depend on that kind of revenue,” he said of the meters and other user fees.
Land sales, utility leases and liquor license sales have all been used over the years to fill gaps in the city’s annual budget.
Ten years ago, for instance, the city saw its tax rate at the time increase 13 cents per $100 of assessed property value after a $360,000 land sale failed to materialize.
This year, however, the city did not include any similar one-time sales in its proposed spending plan, which would raise the average homeowner’s tax bill a little more than 1 percent. Copies of the budget are available at the City Clerk’s office.
The budget does, however, make use of slightly more than $1 million in surplus and notes that the city’s plan is to rebuild its surplus with “new recurring revenue sources.”
The surplus is listed under revenues at risk, a designation meaning “these are anticipated revenues that will not recur in 2014, or that are known to be declining over time,” according to the state Division of Local Government Services.
The state would not comment on the specifics of the Wildwood’s budget, but spokesperson Tammori Petty said Wednesday, “We continue to work with the city to prepare a fiscally sound budget.”
“We definitely need new sources of revenue, and we need to be creative,” Leonetti said.
Last year, city officials said they planned to turn the expansive beach into a money maker, and on Wednesday Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said those efforts should materialize this season in the form of things such as a beach bar near the Wildwoods Convention Center and a giant inflatable slide that would be erected on the beach.
Both would be operated by contractors, not the city, Troiano said.
“The city’s got to generate revenue to offset the expenses of running the city,” he said.
But no revenue from any of the possible beach uses appears in the budget, a change from previous years.
The budget does come with a 1.485 cent increase in the local tax rate, making the rate $1.10 per $100 of assessed valuation or $1,100 per $100,000 of property value.
The average residential property assessment is $222,926, meaning that the local tax bill — the money used to support Wildwood’s daily operations — on an average property would increase from $2,425 to $2,452.
That bill does not include county, open space or school taxes.
While the tax rate is going up, the budget total is down from $26 million last year to $23.9 million this year.
The public hearing on the budget will be May 8.
Contact Trudi Gilfillian: