Government

Belmar Budget Snapshot: No Municipal Tax Hike for Eighth Straight Year

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BELMAR, NJ — A steady stream of revenue will mean Belmar will be able to hold the line on municipal taxes for the eighth consecutive year.

Under the total $23.9 million budget, nearly $7.199 million will be raised through taxation, which includes nearly $560,000 in library taxes. This compares to the $7.2 million total tax levy for 2017, resulting in the virtually unchanged tax rate.

The Belmar Council unanimously approved the spending plan on June 19, following a presentation for the public by Chief Financial Officer Robbin Kirk.

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“For 2018, there will be a zero increase in municipal taxes,” said Mayor Brian Magovern when the borough council introduced the spending plan. “I truly believe Belmar is heading in the right direction.”

Magovern cited several revenue-generating sources, including shared service agreements with other municipalities, which are expected to bring in $177,000 more than in 2017. For example, Belmar will bring in nearly $1.2 million in the second year of a 10-year contract for police services with Lake Como.

Additionally, it will collect another $372,000 for shared services with three municipalities: Lake Como for code enforcement, municipal court, and fire prevention and protection services; Spring Lake for financial officer, tax collector, fire official and municipal court services; and Spring Lake Heights for police dispatch and fire official services.

The borough also expects concession rental fees to add $340,000 to the borough coffers — $90,000 more than last year — and marina slip rentals to top nearly $1.1 million, representing a 7.3 percent increase over 2017.

This year, Belmar will once again receive some $116,000 from payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements from businesses in its redevelopment areas.

Here’s a breakdown of the approved $23.9 million spending plan, divided into four distinct budgetary categories of revenues and expenses:

  • $15.33 million in the current fund
  • $3.76 million in the water and sewer utility
  • $4.61 million in the beach utility
  • $163,500 in the parking utility

On the expense side of the budget, Magovern said that spending for supplies and equipment will remain at 2017 levels, while borough employees will receive a 2 percent cost-of-living increase.

In terms of major expenditures, the borough plans to purchase three vehicles — one each for the police department, public works and fire department.

It also plans on beginning to pay down the principal on its debt in order to reduce the interest being paid on those loans.

Magovern pointed to the new home construction and home renovations occurring throughout the borough as a show of confidence in Belmar. While New Jersey’s population is decreasing, Belmar is gaining new residents because of its prime location along the Jersey Shore, he added.

Magovern also said that Belmar continues to reap the benefits of “years of smart planning” by both of his predecessors, Mayors Kenneth Pringle and Matthew Doherty, particularly in stabilizing the tax rate.

However, he added, the borough needs to look ahead at its future development plans.

“Some people feel Belmar is developing too quickly and some people don’t want Belmar to develop at all. They want Belmar to stay the same,” he said. “But this year’s ratables won’t be able to support tomorrow’s operational expenses.”

Belmar’s 2018 budget is available by clicking here.

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