Decreasing property values and increasing medical insurance costs mean the county tax bill for the average Cape May County residential property will increase $60 this year.
The average residential assessment in the county reached $508,728 last year. The county tax bill for the average property would increase by more than 6 percent to $1,039, compared with the typical bil of $979 last year.
Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton said that while the county’s rate is on the rise, it remains the lowest of any of the state’s 21 counties.
“This year’s budget keeps our tax rate increase to slightly over one cent and our tax levy just under a two percent increase. Keep in mind that most of this tax rate increase is directly attributable to the loss of ratables,” Thornton said.
The tax levy supports a $138 million budget. The budget comes with a tax rate of 20.44 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation. The rate last year was 19.26 cents.
While the budget is down slightly from last year, the amount raised by taxes is rising from $94.6 million to $96.5 million, a 2 percent increase.
The ratable base has declined by 15 percent, or about $8 billion, since 2009. In the last year, the ratable base declined by more than 4 percent, to $47.2 billion. The loss accounts for about nearly all of the 1.18-cent tax-rate hike, officials said.
Thornton said medical insurance costs, up about six percent to about $29 million, are another factor. He said some relief is on the way. The state has mandated higher contributions by employees, which have already kicked in for nonunion workers and are being added as new union contracts are negotiated.
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