Brigantine Approves Whopping 7% Tax Hike

brigantine beach signs
Land of Higher Taxes

Brigantine City Council voted to raise taxes by 7%. Huh? Are the recently elected Dems ignoring the NJ 2% property tax cap? Did they forget their campaign promise to cut city head count and stop raising taxes? 

This past Wednesday, the five Democratic members of council approved this jaw-dropping tax increase. The only two Republicans; Andy Simpson and Mayor Phil Guenther, opposed it. The Brigantine city unions and public employees likely smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

We overheard many angry conversations while drinking coffee at the Macedonian Grill this week. Residents were under the impression that NJ had a 2 percent property tax cap in place. See 2% NJ Tax Cap info HERE.

Why so big a tax hike for Brigantine? While storm clean-up certainly played a role here, many complain that it’s the bloated employee expense and mis-management of our Brigantine assets like the beach, the golf course, proximity to Atlantic City, etc..

Brigantine employee expenses…. account for about 60% of the island’s municipal budget. That’s right. Think about that fun fact for a minute. Sixty cents out of every taxpayer dollar in Brigantine goes towards employees, unions, benefits and pensions. 60% !

Council has yet to fulfill their promise to ‘right-size’ our city employment roles. As of today, still no lay-offs. Still no furloughs. Still no pay-cuts. Just a crazy 7% tax increase.

Special thanks to 2nd homeowners of Brigantine (70% of residents)…that contribute most to this massive 7% tax hike.

That’s right, Brigantine City Council did what they do best. They once again pulled the trigger on raising taxes. They know that almost 3/4 of local taxpayers will just blindly pay it. These so-called ‘70%-ers’ can’t make a fuss. They can’t do anything about it because they can’t vote. Indeed, it’s a fiendishly evil plan to fund the Brigantine revenue coffers and overpay the city employees. 2011 Brigantine Employee Salaries

Brigantine full-time residents are even more angry. Most can only afford ONE home. The pain is much more intense for these Brigantiners. A growing number of Brigantine full-timers are being forced to pack up and leave. Full time Brigantine residents get hurt the most when out of control spending and Greenhead Politics continue to thrive in Brigantine.

As of today, there are 523 homes for sale in Brigantine. That’s a lot of housing inventory for such a small island. That’s a big number when you consider coastal communities to the north that got brutally storm battered and became less attractive to vacation home buyers. One would think Brigantine real estate would be record breaking this season. It should be since Brigantine is one of the most beautiful towns along the Jersey shore. Our vacation homes and tourism attractions are virtually back to 100%.

Situated right next to Atlantic City should make Brigantine even more valuable. But Brigantine’s high taxes and lack of tourism marketing has really hurt. News media continue to tell the world we’re still storm damaged and may not be ready for Summer visitors. We still wonder why The Brigantine Chamber of Commerce does virtually nothing to promote our island to outsiders.

This is wrong on so many levels. Why allow a small handful to get away with this? There’s no one to blame but ourselves. We let it happen.

Are you kidding me? A 7% tax increase….. with no layoffs? No furloughs? No cut backs?

Make sure you thank our Democratic council members the next time you see em’. We all gotta get one of them jobs at Brigantine City Hall…. pretty sweet deal. Awesome pensions too!

BB-NJ Brigantine Beach City Hall Taxes

WATCH VIDEO. Brigantine councilman Frank Kern promises NO MORE tax and spend.

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50+ Yearround Resident

How much is safety worth??? We were lucky this time, maybe not so next time. Brigantine’s Public Safety services are second to none…..It can happen anywhere.

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/no-gun-found-in-searches-of-brigantine-schools/article_faeb67ce-c39e-597f-af89-2de0b4246702.html

My idea…lets build some support around those that do have voting rights. Lets start an initiative whereby 70% seek out and pair up with the 30% voters to oust those that went back on their word and continue down the path of least resistance, tax and spend. If the salary chart is correct, it seems absurd to me. I know its hard to cut your “friends and neighbors” and I all for a “livable wage” but something has to change. I’m inspired to start the groundswell of 70%, lets be creative and stop this nonsense in its tracks…who’s in? We… Read more »

50+ Yearround Resident

I don’t believe layoffs are the answer, maybe downsizing through attrition, but not layoffs. These are real people with families to support. If the level of service can stay the same (or maybe even a little less) with less people, maybe that should be looked at. But think, do YOU want to wait extra time for Police or Ambulance service to save a few dollars? Surrounding towns such as Galloway & Hamilton now make you fill out a Police report on line or through a kiosk for non serious crimes where a report is needed due to manpower losses. Both… Read more »

NOT Kidding about Brigantine

Dear 50+ ….although I believe you think your supportive statements are reality, I know that this government staffing is BLOATED and there are alternative solutions to raising taxes. Someone wrote an editorial and demonstrated Brigantine staffing in relation to many MUCH BIGGER cities with actual commerce going on (towns with huge populations and Wal-marts, large shopping plazas, Food chains galore, thru traffic- not Barrier island, etc.- you get the picture right?). Those towns are doing the job with smaller staffs. The population of Brigantine does NOT warrant the current staffing- PLAIN & SIMPLE! It’s common knowledge. Many Brigantine employees also… Read more »

50+ Yearround Resident

OF COURSE everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I will only comment on things I KNOW about. Only 1 dispatcher is making the salary you mentioned, the other 8 full time dispatchers are not, neither are the 6 part time dispatchers that eliminate overtime when people go on vacation, are out sick, etc. Most if not all volunteer ambulance squads in this area have gone to paid staffing, as the days of volunteers being available are gone, there was too much liability in people waiting 15-20 minutes for an ambulance from another City (FACT). If people ARE conducting personal… Read more »

Not Kidding About Brigantine

The “employees running businesses” during work hours is common knowledge. I learned of it thru several reliable sources. It is not just ONE person… it is many. Dispatchers can be replaced with Central Dispatch. You stated that salary info for Dispatchers was incorrect…. What is YOUR opinion on the Recreation Director’s salary (? $80k) and the fact that there is also an Asst Director at $75k???? Seems like wasteful spending to me…..It seems that you know that something MUST be done- but you squash each proposal set forth in favor of status quo for employees. Until that problem is corrected,… Read more »

50+ Yearround Resident

WHAT Central Dispatch???? None exists in Atlantic County. It has been talked about & planned since 1998 or so, and the municipalities apparently are not interested. My opinion on Recreation Department salaries? The truth is, I do not know enough about their job duties, how long they have been employees, etc to form an intelligent opinion. And thanks for your suggestion, but 2 jobs is enough. Also the truth is, you don’t know me, I AM NOT a nice person, but I am intelligent enough to be civil since this is a moderated board.

A REAL Resident

Dear NOT Kidding about Brigantine, lets let some FACTS straight, #1 there are 9 full time a 5 part time dispatchers, not 15 at 68k. The 9 full timers have a cap of $60,371 (and that’s fact, right from a contract) the other 5 part timers, if they aren’t working or covering shifts they cost the City $0 ZERO dollars. The dispatchers that you want to all the sudden throw under the bus are the ones that answer the calls for you 24/7 365 days a year, the are also the ones that will give you CPR instructions and get… Read more »

Not Kidding in Brigantine

Dear Real Resident, Thanks for your information…..but nobody is “throwing” anyone under a bus here. $60k for a dispatcher is STILL not in keeping with salaries in other much busier towns…. so THAT is the point. You have obviously caused Council with your Bus-throwing comments.to make unwise decisions that affect everyone in significant ways other than your running into burning building – scare tactic talk. My whole family is very well trained in CPR- perhaps that is something that all families should know instead of being held hostage by these scare tactics. If the employees of Brigantine are paid salaries… Read more »

Queen

If it costs $1.15 per day and it would be reasonable for it to cost less then it should be done. Since the age of technology and due to inventions like the I phone, e mail, google etc I can do my job in half the time that it use to take. I think the City Government should encourage the use of technology in particular: e mail; forms on line – there will be a much more efficient work force. All of this should be able to be accessed from the city web site. Educate the employees and the public.… Read more »

Bonnie Nikituk

I like Queen’s ideas.

Preparing for TAX APPEAL in 2014

I did NOT appeal our taxes THIS year…. with the NEW exorbitant increase- we WILL be appealing next year- and so the the problem will go on and on and on UNTIL the SALARIES, BENEFITS and NUMBERS of STAFF are DECREASED! That is where the problem exists. This will continue and WORSEN until the Council and Management (and employees too) FACE the FACT and make the hard decisions required to run the City of Brigantine in a fiscally responsible manner. The PARTY is over. It is time to do what is necessary for the good of the majority, instead of… Read more »

70%R

To Brigantine City Council- (we know you read this site) The video above is absolutely disgusting. The tax INCREASE is even more disgusting. The Council is obviously inept and so is the Manager and the entire Administration. The Staff and Salaries are BLOATED. I WILL be contacting the Governors office. Lay-offs are REQUIRED! The budget must be cut! STOP borrowing money to pay the bills. You are forcing residents to move from their homes because they cannot afford to live in their OWN homes- YOU have NO PITY for these people YET you continue to pay the (? 180) employees… Read more »

Johnny Wishbone

Agree, you should all be ashamed of yourselves! Who knew the second hurricane was coming? Taking advantage of a disaster to line your pockets make me sick! The system is broken people!

Taxed to Death

Register your complaint with the Governor. Go to http://www.nj.gov, taxation, contact us and then send your message via their email, phone or regular mail.
Asked what happened to the 2% cap?

Don Castaldo

Have can this increase be corrected, if at all

Veronica McEvoy

A big disappointment that the Democratic Council who campaigned for lower spending and lower taxes, are now increasing our taxes.

The economic stress that families are under due to Hurricane Sandy was completely ignored by our Democratic Council.

The latest political advertisement in The Beachcomber states how 7% was not ideal for the taxpayers and then blaming the increase on past decision by former councils is shameless. Again taking no responsibility for their own votes and actions and blaming it on others.

National Democratic tactics and deception have now reached the local level.

50+ Yearround Resident

To the 70%…..Life long locals with only 1 house like myself hold multiple jobs to be able to live where we grew up, we are becoming less and less. Sorry, tough to feel sorry for those with multiple houses. To those with SECOND homes the solution is simple, make this your primary residence and VOTE and at the same time be THANKFUL you are in a position where you can have MORE than 1 house/residence.

Elizabeth Komins

I am grateful every day of my life that we have a second home. Brigantine should do what some other Jersey Shore towns have done and repeal the “taxation without representation” treatment of second home owners! You don’t need to feel sorry for second home owners, but you should be concerned that a couple like us, who just retired, decided not to make this our primary residence. You know why we decided this? Because the taxes here are already ridiculous. We can’t afford the taxes here. We have a 4 bedroom, 2 story single house, on an acre of land,… Read more »

Johnny Wishbone

70%’ers have no say. Why would you 50+ year rounder go and want your taxes raised????? Thats right the shoobies as you call us have no say. Shame you islanders allow yourselves to get taxed off and hold multi jobs to afford to live there. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT THEN!!! VOTE THESE SLOBS OFF THE ISLAND YOU HOLD SO DEAR TO YOUR HEART!

Lucia Resch

Read up on the history of Asbury Park, NJ; that is the direction our island politics are putting us in! What a way to turn our beautiful island into a slumland!!

Shame on them!!

Diane Settefrati

Of course higher taxes are going to have residents sell and move. That will result in more houses on the market, lower property values, and in the end less revenue. I say it is time to bring in Republican Leadership, or hold classes on Economics 101 at the meetings. Maybe they should take a look at making some cuts.

Shawn

Here is the list of people to call and email..

Philip J. Guenther, Mayor
pguenther@brigantinebeachnj.com

Frank Kern
Councilman-at-Large
(609) 266-7600 ext. 321

fkern@brigantinebeachnj.com
Andrew Simpson Councilman – Ward 1
(609) 266-7600 ext. 322
asimpson@brigantinebeachnj.com

Joe Picardi
(609) 266-7600 ext. 324
jpicardi@brigantinebeach.com

Tony Pullella
Councilman-at-Large
(609) 266-7600 ext. 320
tpullella@brigantinebeachnj.com

Lisa McClay, Ward 2 Council
(609) 266-7600
lmmclay@brigantinebeachnj.com

Rick DeLucry
Councilman – Ward 4
(609) 266-7600 ext. 325
rdelucry@brigantinebeachnj.com

City Manager
Jennifer Blumenthal
(609) 266-7600, ext. 212
jblumenthal@brigantinebeachnj.com

Josh Pope

Grubby Creep novices, vote the Ba****ds out ASAP. Get the lesser of two evils back in control.

Shawn

I made a few calls. Div of Taxation: 292-6400. They did not know about it. They sent me to Property Tax: 292-7975. They did not know about it. They sent me to Diane Gryer: 943-4401. Still waiting to hear back. Gov Christie says when the cap was created , he and State Senate President Steve Sweeny only allowed for 3 exceptions – public debt payments, health benefits and pension costs – “but we knew there would be inventive local officials who would try to find ways around it, and we’ve now started to see that manifest itself – so he… Read more »

70%R

Disgusted

Barbara

I thought there was a 2% cap??? How is that possible? What exceptions were made?

Taxed to Death

What happened to the State law that capped property tax increases at 2% ???
Does that not apply here ??

Bonnie Nikituk

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/07/gov_christie_signs_2_percent_p.html
Found the above info about the 2% hike… I’m not sure whether it applies BUT it seems that calls to the Governor (who is up for re-election) are in order- so EVEN if you are in the 70%- YOUR new jersey vote counts for the Governor- …. email him at- http://www.state.nj.us/governor/contact/ or phone to 609-292-6000 … It may take some action on our part BUT the time has come to be involved in our government on ALL levels.

Joe

I cannot wait to sell my place and get out of this piece of **** island.

Buffy

omg Who will pay the taxes when all the foreclosures start?

What can we do to correct this? Vote out the democratic majority of City Council. They ran on no taxes – “Tired of Tax and Hire? ” That was their billboard slogan. They did nothing to cut the budget and make it more in line with last year. Why? Because they say that the previous members of council did not allow for enough surplus. So they decided to collect additional taxes from home owners and businesses this year so they would have a larger surplus than necessary so next year when there is a new election they will adjust taxes… Read more »

Dee

Feed up with all the political BS. Once the foreclosures come in, who will be left to pay that, your vacationers?