STONE HARBOR — A loss in tax ratables, a reduction in revenue from cell phone providers renting space on the borough’s water tower, and an increase in health insurance costs combined for a 2.6 percent increase in the 2014 municipal budget.
The $14 million budget, adopted last month, raises the local tax rate by eight-tenths of a cent to 2.32 cents per $100 of assessed value. That means the owner of a $1 million home will pay $80 more in local taxes this year.
With Wednesday’s adoption of a $3.1 million public school budget, homeowners will pay roughly $11 more in taxes in 2014-15 to educate the borough’s 82 students. The school budget, which carries a 2 percent increase over this year, raises the tax rate by one-tenth of one cent. There were no reductions in school programs or services.
Several factors contributed to the $400,000 increase in the municipal budget from last year’s $13.6 million. Jim Nicola, chief financial officer for Stone Harbor, said health insurance costs for the borough’s 80 full-time employees increased by $101,000.
Reductions in revenue were due to the loss of $4.6 million in tax ratables, which Nicola said represents less than 1 percent of the borough’s $4.4 billion in assessments, and the loss of $58,000 from two cell phone providers that removed their antennae from the town’s water tower.
Local taxes account for $2,320, or 44 percent, of a homeowner’s tax bill and school taxes account for $542, or 10 percent, of a homeowner’s tax bill. County taxes, which account for 46 percent of a Stone Harbor homeowner’s tax bill, push the average bill to about $5,100, Nicola said.
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