BELMAR, NJ — Property taxes in Belmar will decline for the seventh consecutive year, under a budget introduced on May 4 by the borough council.

The $23.4 million spending plan calls for some $6.7 million to be raised through taxation — representing a 0.21 percent decline from the previous year’s municipal tax levy. In real tax dollars, a property owner with a home valued at about $550,000 can expect a nearly $2,200 cut in local taxes this year, excluding school and county taxes.

Mayor Matthew Doherty said that the seven years of tax decreases equates to $975,000 in savings over that period. “Belmar is the only town in New Jersey where this has occurred,” he said, attributing the trend to “outstanding management” in all areas of municipal government, “balancing the books to get value out of every dollar spent” and “operating the town like a business.”

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Recurring revenues generate nearly as much money as taxes do, he said. The bulk of these revenue-generating streams come from shared service agreements with other municipalities. For example, Belmar will bring in nearly $1.2 million in the first year of a 10-year contract for police services with Lake Como.

Additionally, it will collect another $310,000 for shared services with Lake Como for code enforcement and municipal court operations, Spring Lake for financial officer and tax collector services, and municipal court operations, and Spring Lake Heights for police dispatch services.

This year, Belmar will place in its coffers $115,000 from payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements from businesses in its redevelopment areas. “We’ve had more private economic development in the last seven years than we had in the previous 20,” Doherty said, referring specifically to the Belmar Marina, where Chefs International operates 9th Avenue Pier Bar & Restaurant and the soon-to-open Marina Grille, but the borough owns the property. “And the way these agreements are structured, these revenues are going to increase.”

Here’s a snapshot of the 2017 municipal budget:

  • The proposed $23.4 million budget is about $78,878 less, or 0.34 percent, than last year.
  • The municipal tax levy (amount to be raised through municipal taxes) of $6.7 million is about $14,201 less than in 2016, or 0.21 percent.
  • Legal fees stand at $216,000, compared to $121,000 in 2016 — earmarked for a number of lawsuits against the borough related to its beachfront development plans and the disputed liquor license transfer at 710 River Road.
  • There is nearly $1.4 million in the budget’s surplus account.
  • Major improvements totaling $1 million are planned for the Eighth Avenue and 15th Avenue playgrounds and Three-Acre Park on Main Street.
  • Another $2 million will be spent on the borough’s ongoing water infrastructure improvement project, which has been ongoing since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The proposed budget will be a topic of discussion during a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, May 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Taylor Pavilion. An official public hearing followed by a final vote by the borough council is slated for Wednesday, June 7 at 6.p.m. at the Belmar Municipal Building.

The Belmar budget can be found online at: http://www.belmar.com/useruploads/files/2017_introduced_municipal_budget.pdf