Sea Isle City’s local tax rate will rise by almost 2 cents under a proposed budget that includes Hurricane Sandy cleanup costs, increases for debt payments and employee salary increases.

The $20.8 million spending plan is 6 percent higher than last year, with a local tax levy that is almost 7 percent higher than in 2012.

The 1.9-cent tax rate increase will mean $123 more in municipal taxes a year for the average residential property owner with an assessment of $724,315, bringing the total average residential tax bill for city purposes to $2,259.

The main drivers behind the increase were actions City Council took last year that must be paid for this year such a $569,000 emergency appropriation for Sandy cleanup and bonds for various capital improvements, such as roads and water and sewer projects.

Employee salaries and wages, the largest single appropriation in the city’s budget at $8.1 million, will increase by almost $88,000, a rise of 1.1 percent.

The city plans to have a public hearing on the budget at its regular meeting at 8 p.m. March 19 inside the new City Hall, the former Sea Isle City Elementary School, on Park Road.

In his budget address in January, Mayor Len Desiderio said that moving into the school meant the city had to hire a new employee, lifting its hiring freeze for nonpublic safety employees.

Employee health insurance costs are also increasing by $152,465 in the proposed budget.

The proposed budget is $3.4 million more than it was five years ago in 2008, an almost 20-percent increase over that time. The local tax levy is about $3 million more than it was then, a 25-percent increase.

The city went through a reassessment that year, dropping the municipal tax rate from 29 cents per $100 of assessed value to 25 cents. Since then, the rate has increased back to 29 cents as of last year, and it will be at 31 cents under the proposed budget, a 5.8-cent increase over five years.

This year, the city's total value dropped by $800,000, slightly decreasing the average residential assessment by about $4,700, mainly due to tax appeals, Tax Assessor Art Berrodin said.

Contact Lee Procida:

609-463-6712

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