Longport’s proposed 2013 budget includes a local tax-rate increase of 1 cent, primarily due to cleanup and repairs from Hurricane Sandy.
The budget released Thursday features a tax rate of 32.9 cents per $100 of assessed value. If that rate stands, it would mean properties valued at the average residential assessment of $1,090,916 will pay $3,589 in city property taxes, up about 3 percent from $3,480 paid last year.
Jenna Kellycq, the city’s chief financial officer, said much of the increase is due to two emergency bonds of a combined $825,000 the city took out in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“That was for the immediate effects of Sandy: debris and sand removal and equipment maintenance,” she said. In 2013, the city will need to repay about $165,000 on the funding.
This year’s budget also includes $4.5 million in capital funding for long-term expenses related to Sandy. Kelly said that debt will not affect this year’s budget. That money will be used to replace damaged public works equipment and to fix bulkheads, street ends and the 11th Avenue jetty area.
Mayor Nicholas Russocq said it’s important for taxpayers to realize that while their county taxes have increased, municipal taxes are still relatively low.
“We’re still providing the same levels of services that they’re accustomed without a significant tax increase, and that’s even considering what’s occurred with Hurricane Sandy,” he said.
Moving forward, Russo said the city’s challenge is rebuilding beachfronts damaged by the storm.
“We don’t have a drug store, a supermarket, a doctor’s office or a gas station,” he said. “We rely on our neighbors and our neighbors enjoy our beach. I want to make sure this is accessible to everyone as soon as possible.”
The total 2013 budget includes $7.6 million in appropriations, more than $5.8 million of which will be paid by taxpayers.
A hearing for the budget’s adoption is scheduled for April 17.
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