The Governing Body introduced the 2012 Municipal Budget on March 19 that will result in an average $168.00 increase from 2011 in the amount of money tax payers pay for the municipal portion of their tax bill.
However, on June 18, the Mayor and Council endorsed an amendment to the budget that will reduce this increase to about $135.00 per property owner. The Mayor and Council along with departments were able to reduce overall expenses but about $200,000.
Remember, when you receive your tax bill, it includes three taxing entities, municipal, schools, and county. The municipal portion is only approximately 45% of the total bill. The 2012 municipal budget resulted in a $1,238,144 appropriation increase from 2011.
Total appropriations in 2011 were $22,818,220 and in 2012, they will be $24,056,364 or a 5.15% increase. The tax levy, or the amount to be raised by taxes in 2011 was $18,216,763 and in 2012 the levy will be $19,224,227 or a 5.53% increase.
The main contributing factor to this increase in the levy is the inability to generate enough revenues other than taxes, to cover expenses.
The main appropriation increases were debt service, the amount of money owed as a result of borrowing for capital projects $354,006, street lighting, $42,000, and health benefits $617,755.
The Mayor and Council are aggressively looking at health care options to reduce this cost.
The more revenues Edgewater receives, the less of a levy, or the amount we need to assess directly to the property owner.
Edgewater was fortunate enough to receive state fiscal aid in the amount of $750,731, the same amount as last year, this money will go directly to tax relief, or less the amount needed to raise in taxes. To counter the trend of lost revenues identified a few years ago, we initiated the collection of two new sources of revenue, ambulance billing and sewer fees. The revenue projections for both billings are $186,000 and $150,000 respectively which could decrease the overall tax levy.
In 2010, the municipal tax rate was .582 and in 2011, the rate was .698, and 2012 the introduced rate will be .700. On the typical residential assessment of $433,000, the average amount of municipal taxes to be paid will be $3,202.
A public hearing was held on April 16 permitting residents the opportunity to comment, the State of New Jersey did not complete the review of the budget by this date and the adoption had to be postponed. The finance committee of the council will continue to work with department heads in finding opportunities to reduce the overall tax levy by adoption and public hearing which is scheduled to be on July 16, 2012.