From Press staff reports

Cape May County freeholders introduced a $142 million budget Tuesday night that will raise county taxes about $12 for every $100,000 of assessed value.

The proposed budget will increase the county tax rate to 17.3 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The county tax rate does not include municipal, school or fire taxes.

The 2010 budget will collect $92.5 million in taxes, a 4 percent increase from last year.

The budget uses slightly more than half of its $21.8 million in available surplus to offset taxes.

The budget faces a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Cape May County Administration Building.

Administrator Stephen O'Connor said the county eliminated 41 positions through privatization and attrition, which helped cut about $2 million of salaries and benefits from the budget.

"We don't see any brighter future financially for 2011," he said.

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