SEA ISLE CITY - Mayor Leonard Desiderio proposed a budget Tuesday night that would increase local purpose tax 2.7 cents per $100 of assessed value - a $108 increase on a $400,000 home.

Desiderio said his budget has funding for a down payment on a $12 million capital plan, which includes more than $6 million for a beach replenishment and about

$6 million for various work, including restructuring the beachfront Promenade, building a band shelter for concerts, putting aside money for the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse, as well as for road projects.

"I'm putting this on the budget, but if anywhere Council sees they want to cut any of it out and not proceed with it, that's absolutely fine with me," Desiderio said. "I understand the tough economic times, and these are items that have been discussed."

In his annual state of the city address Tuesday, Desiderio called the beach replenishment a priority, but said other capital plans could be taken out of the budget, which would bring the tax rate increase below 2 cents per $100 of assessed value.

In Sea Isle City, the mayor proposes a budget that is essentially a guideline, but the decisions are in the hands of the five-member City Council.

City Council is expected to introduce a budget Feb. 9.

Councilman Michael McHale said the council will hold public workshops later this week as it begins to tailor the budget.

Regarding the proposed budget increase, Desiderio also cited pension contributions and a more than 20 percent increase in health-care premiums. This year, Desiderio said, the city will renegotiate with its bargaining units, including police, public works and management, whose contracts expire this year.

In related news Tuesday night, City Council introduced a borrowing plan to pay for a beach-fill project in its southern end between 73rd and 93rd streets. The city is partnering with Avalon on a $10.4 million project to pump 700,000 cubic yards of sand in Sea Isle City and 500,000 cubic yards in Avalon.

Sea Isle City Administrator George Savastano said the city also hopes to get approval to expand the beach fill to include several hundred thousand more cubic yards of sand.

Contact Brian Ianieri:

609-463-6713

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