EGG HARBOR CITY — City Council tabled adoption of its $5.6 million budget Thursday in the hopes that the ambulance building will sell in time to help offset a tax increase.
The Philadelphia Avenue property is up for sale via Request for Proposal, and bids and ideas for developing the property are due to be opened May 1, said the city’s Chief Finance Officer Jodi Kahn after the meeting.
Council President Ed Dennis has said the minimum bid to be accepted for the property which is part of a redevelopment zone, is $250,000. He has said another lot in the zone is expected to sell for about $100,000.
The city, which already has the highest effective tax rate in Atlantic County, faces a municipal tax rate increase of more than 11 cents, from about $1.80 per $100 of assessed valuation to almost $1.92, if the sale doesn’t happen. The city must raise $4.31 million through the tax levy.
The owner of the average home in the city, assessed at $141,000, would see an increase of about $169 in their local tax bill, from $2,538 to $2,707.
Resident and real estate agent Manya Medrala was one of several people in the audience at Thursday night’s budget hearing, asking council members to do whatever they could to lessen the tax burden.
“People come to me all the time and say they can’t afford the taxes, and can’t afford to sell their houses either,” said Medrala. “A lot of old people don’t want to leave this town, but they cannot afford the taxes.”
The 2014 budget was introduced at the March 27 council meeting.
An amended budget may be advertised and up for consideration at the May 8 meeting, Kahn said, after the proposals are opened May 1 and council members have a chance to review them.
A penny on the tax rate generates about $19,000, so if the building sells, about $228,000 of the funds would be used to eliminate the tax increase, with money to spare, Dennis has said.
Total spending is down slightly, but the tax increase is needed because of falling revenues, Kahn has said.
The Egg Harbor City School District is holding its budget hearing 7 p.m. May 7 at the Community School.
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