To the Editor:
Property tax increases in Belmar from last year of 21.7 percent, and this year proposed at 5.5 percent, will have a detrimental financial impact on middle class families and seniors for years to come. This is financial malpractice being committed by elected officials and their appointees by increasing taxes 27.2 percent over two years when it is not necessary. And it looks like this pattern of increasing taxes will continue into the future.
As mayor of Belmar from 2011 to 2018, my administration, along with a Democratic council and Mayor Brian Magovern, worked hard to ensure taxes didn’t increase, so that our community was welcoming, and affordable for middle class families and seniors. We expanded our commercial tax base, increased our PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) revenue, increased shared services revenue, increased revenue from the marina, fought for and received tens of millions of dollars in grant money and held the line on spending. We were successful in having no tax increases in eight consecutive years, while expanding programs for children and seniors. Now all that progress is being reversed.
This new policy of significant property tax increases year after year is a dangerous downward spiral and will make it more difficult for middle class families and seniors to afford living in Belmar. This will also widen the gap between the wealthy and everyone else in town. Maybe that is the plan of the Republican-dominated administration and council, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
Matt Doherty, Belmar, NJ