CAPE MAY POINT — Lower labor costs are helping deliver a $1.7 million municipal budget that will reduce the tax rate in this tiny resort town by less than one percent.
The reduction may be small, just 0.39 percent on the tax rate, but Borough Administrator Connie Mahon was happy to leave behind such a budget after 13 years working in the borough. Next week she takes a position as administrator in Middle Township.
“It’s my final hurrah,” Mahon said.
Mahon said salaries and wages are down 2.4 percent, partly due to not giving out many raises but also because one employee in an Information Technology position left and the computers-related job was privatized at a lower cost. The borough has only 10 employees, but Mahon said only a few got raises and they were small. Salary and wages, a major part of the budget, are declining by $10,948, to $438,742.
The tax rate will go from 25.9 cents for each $100 of assessed value to 25.8 cents. This means the taxes paid for each $100,000 in property value would decline from $259 to $258.
Borough Auditor Glenn Ortman said the average residential assessment is $793,000. With that assessment, the old tax would have produced a bill of $2,054 while the new rate would produce a bill of $2,046.
Mahon said the Borough Commission also cut operating expenses and “all unnecessary expenditures” to pare the budget. The overall budget is down by $170,394, a 9 percent drop.
The amount to be raised by taxes to support the budget increased by $2,498, or less than 1 percent, and now sits at $1.3 million. In spite of collecting more dollars, the rate dropped partly due to a $1.1 million increase in ratables to $514 million and also because more surplus was used. Last year $95,000 in surplus was used to balance the budget, and this year $105,000 is being used. This still leaves a remaining balance of $380,634.
Tax collections are down, from 99.2 percent to 99 percent, so more money was put in the delinquent tax line item.
“We put $10,000 in last year and this year it’s $15,000,” Mahon said.
It helped that local revenues, from such sources as license fees, rose by 1.3 percent to $226,900. State aid remained the same at just $26,176.
Besides salaries, appropriations also go to pay for the beach program, police protection from neighboring Cape May, public works, administration and other programs. Most fall under the category of “other expenses,” which totals $696,113.
Mahon called the budget, which has already been approved by the governing body, “extremely responsible and very responsive as well.”
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