Comparing Taxes. Brigantine Versus Avalon, Stone Harbor & Ocean City

Brigantine homeowner; Martin Zini, just received his tax bill. After he picked himself off the floor, Martin decided to compare the tax rates of Brigantine, Avalon, Stone Harbor and Ocean City. It’s not pretty. Here’s what he sent to BrigantineNOW….

A couple interesting facts:

– Brigantine and Avalon have approximate the exact same amount of developed land–4.2 sq miles. The total value of Avalon’s 4.2 sq miles is $7.3 billion. The total value of Brig’s 4.2 sq miles is $3.2 billion. This means that Avalon is worth 2.3x the value of Brigantine. This is despite 3 assets that the Brig possesses that Avalon does not:

  • 45 min closer to both Phila and NYC
  • much nicer beaches
  • a large state park on the island.

The $3.8 billion difference is not due to any “natural advantage” Avalon has, but rather because of the gross incompetence, nepotism and mismanagement of this town (Brigantine).

The Brig’s “powers-that-be” objective is NOT to improve the island, NOT to improve the town or increase property values for homeowners, but rather, their SOLE goal is lifetime employment, perpetual income, job security and FAT pensions for themselves, their family and friends at the expense of the 72% of homeowners who have no say (vote) in how their tax dollars are spent and how the town is run.

Comparable tax rates (per $100 of assessed value):

  • Brig: $1.707 (local*-$.711)
  • OC: $.883 (local*-$.401)
  • Avalon: $.535 (local*-$.250)
  • Stone Harbor: $.518 (local*-$.232)

The “local” portion (Brig–$.711) is what the town charges (and keeps). The balance is charged (and goes to) by the county.

Brigantine’s “local” tax rate of $.711 exceeds both Avalon’s and Stone Harbor’s TOTAL tax rates by .18 and .20 respectively and is only .17 less than OCNJ’s TOTAL tax rate.

Homeowners in Avalon pay approximately 50%-60% in property taxes of what we homeowners in Brig pay.

Brigantine’s “local tax rate” is 1.78x , 2.85x and 3.1x higher than OC’s, Avalon’s and Stone Harbor’s “local tax rates”, respectively. For what ?

The public area of this town (beach paths, roads, medians, alleys, street signs, curbs, street lights, sidewalks, no landscaping, beaches seldom raked, mowed grass in public areas not swept or blown, just left in streets and on sidewalks, grass growing thru sidewalks and streets, potholes everywhere, tennis courts and basketball courts in complete disrepair, etc, etc, etc) are a disgrace and a complete embarrassment (and in some cases, a lawsuit-waiting-to-happen)..

Relative to these other beach communities, the public areas of Brigantine are a dump, and the politics, a rotten cesspool.

I strongly encourage all of you to take a ride 30 miles south, and see what Stone Harbor and Avalon are doing on .23 and .25 (per $100), that the folks in Brigantine can not come close to accomplishing on 3xs (.711) the amount of money. You will be outraged

There needs to be a tax-payer revolt by the folks who pay 72% of the taxes around here, but have NO say how OUR money is spent. There needs to be a MAJOR house-cleaning done around here. The nepotism and obscenely bloated budget must end.

Martin Zini; “The Merchant of Menace”

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25 thoughts on “Comparing Taxes. Brigantine Versus Avalon, Stone Harbor & Ocean City”

    1. I understand why Mr. Zini is upset with his new tax bill, but to get a true picture should also take into consideration the ratio of assessed to true value for each municipality.

      Some municipalities may be assessing property at a higher or lower ratio than Brigantine which will result in a higher or lower tax bill for similar properties in the diffirent municipalities.

      In addition the three municipalities he used as a comparison are all in Cape May County. He must acknowledge that the Atlantic County Government Budget is much higher than Cape May County Budget and the County portion of the tax burden contributes to a higher tax bill for Brigantine property owners than Cape May County property owners.

      A better basis of comparison would be what is known as “the effective tax rate” which is calculated by multiplying the tax rate by the assessment ratio. (In Brigantine which we now assume is assessing at 100% of value the effective tax rate and actual tax rate should be the same). In other municipalities the effective tax will most likely be higher or lower.

      I commend Mr. Zini for speaking out and doing so much research and I encourage others to take as much interest in what can only be described as “the out of contol cost of providing governmental services”. My main here is to point out that when you compare tax rates in different municipalities you also must consider the ratio of assessed to true value if you want to make a more realistic comparison.

      1. Sir,

        The figures stated are the amount of taxes we pay that go directly to Brigantine. These figures do NOT include the amount we pay to the county.

        Please re-read the article….more closely this time

  1. “their SOLE goal is lifetime employment, perpetual income, job security and FAT pensions for themselves, their family and friends ; gross incompetence, nepotism and mismanagement of this town (Brigantine); the public areas of Brigantine are a dump, and the politics, a rotten cesspool.”

    The only people who disagree with these statements are either collecting a city paycheck, want to collect a city paycheck, or have a relative who is.

    A relative, years ago, when deciding to purchase a second home at the shore opted to Stone Harbor after researching Brigantine. Wish I sold back then and did the same, their house is now worth twice as much as mine, and they pay half the tax. Avalon & Stone Harbor are clean, safe with competent govt.

    Our GOP here in Brig are more like McGreevey & Corzine- bloated govt with public union givaways.

    1. Who cares ?

      You think that Brigantine is safer and better protected than Avalon and Stine Harbor ???

      You truly believe that Avalon and Stone Harbor are worse off because they have an all volunteer fire department and a police force 1/3 the size of Brigantine ??,

      Dream on !!!

  2. Great article above- really appreciate all the research that went into it. I would also like to know what we can do as the 72% non-voters (also known as the shoobies) to get this island straightened out before I am forced to sell at a loss. That’s if I can find someone who wants to pay my high taxes to keep the Brigantine politicians & employees happy.

  3. Did you compare services completely? I think not! If you are so unhappy with the taxes and the island in general, why do you stay? Those other towns maybe for you!

      1. John F- Are YOU happy with the taxes?.. and nobody spoke of being “unhappy” with the Island in general. WE are unhappy with the Nepotism and poor management both fiscally and politically, Sir. SOON, it may be YOU that is moving (to the mainland) because you have all priced yourselves off the Island. That will be a sad day, eh?

  4. The police, firemen, and pensions need to be addressed before we have a ghost town in Brigantine.Stone Harbor and Avaolon are looking better all the time and I am going there to look at property.Brigantine needs a total overhaul. Residents will be fleeing by the hundreds if things don’t change quickly.

  5. “But what you did not say was we have police and fire that they don’t have.”

    * Perhaps your reading comprehension skills are lacking. I did say: ~Avalon & Stone Harbor are CLEAN, SAFE with competent govt.~

    and, of course the obligatory stand by response of – “Don’t like it ? leave”.

    Services in other SHORE (not off-shore) towns? Yes, services are equitable and their budgets are not bloated with nepotism and a 60%+ salary & benefit tax liability.

    Remember the good old days when it was the school tax that was the most ?

    1. U will never end the nepotism because everyone is related to one another.Also, yes u have police and fire the highest paid probably in the country. What’s that another new fire truck? Good Luck to everyone . I hope u find a solution.

  6. Of the 28% who actually turn out to vote, I would also love to know what percentage of those folks have an axe to grind, e.g, receive pension, salaries, health benefits from the town of Brigantine?

    In other words, has Brigantine strategically and self-servingly positioned itself to make it virtually impossible to have a fair and balanced election that represents the best interests of the town of Brigantine? If so it’s absolutely ingenious of city officials. They created a fat and happy environment and wrote the rules to make it impossible to evoke change when needed.

    I mean c’mon, when you see something this strategically impressive, you have to hand it to them don’t you?

    When the vast majority of eligible voters have a present or historic conflict of interest of course nothing will change. We should have an annual Genius Day and vote on a winner each year. Perhaps deliver a nice plaque so the winner can hang it proudly on his or her wall. Just a thought.

    1. Your tongue-in-cheek sarcasm is very impressive.

      I believe tbat both the French Revolution and the US Revolution were born in reaction to attitudes similar to the one that leaders of Brigantine have.

    2. A LOT of 2nd Homeowners are splitting their VOTING power… with ONE spouse registering in Brigantine. The surprises for those that have been “working the system” are just around the corner.

  7. Mr. Zini has done his homework. It seems completely incongruous that our taxes continue to go up when our assessments are going down. If the 72% figure is correct, then something has to be done to give summer owners a legitimate right to vote in local elections.

  8. It is not reasonable to compare Avalon to Brigantine. I don’t disagree that Brigantine is run to fund the city payroll that is loaded with pure pork.
    Avalon has one school that is rated a 10 (the best) with 66 students unlike Brigantine where we have two schools that are combined rated 4.5 (below the mid) with 768 students.
    Avalon never allowed project type housing to be built aka Dolphin Cove and therefore they don’t need the same police, Fire and EMT services. Housing in Avalon is 100% upscale and the residents are 100% upscale.
    At the end of the day it all adds up to a much higher tax rate!

    1. Free pre-school and free all-day kindergarten ????

      We 72%ers who pay taxes, uses town services 2-3 months / year and HAVE NO VOTING rights are forced to play for these luxuries for full-time residents ?

      This is NOT the norm in other municipalities–people who use these services must pay out-of-pocket for them….but NOT in Brigantine….let’s stick the taxpayers (72%ers) with this bill

  9. Will Somebody out there proceed in doing a taxpayer revolt. If all of us together as a community there should be something that can do done about this sad situation. Not only do seniors need this all of the younger generation can benefit also.

  10. good comments – the free american way of discussion – good research too, but i possibly think that person failed to mention those other towns have a lot more ratables than brigantine as far as i know. and there’s a lot more people in the other towns compared to brig. last thing i want to do is defend the present system, but you can only tax what’s available – and in our case, we’re not as densely populated like the other towns, so we pay more. in the end, just need to cut back salaries, etc. and reign in the budget. How to do that – who knows?


  12. I’ve lived at the NJ shore for many of my 64 years- mostly as family owner and lately as a summer renter. I’m intimately familiar with the proper inner workings and need for cooperation and respect for summer residents
    of shore towns. Members of
    my family held positions of Zoning Director and Commissioner in Avalon for a
    number of years when that
    town began it’s growth spurt.
    I’m amazed at the enmity
    between full time residents
    and summer residents, on whose backs most tax
    burdens reside.

    What strikes me is the exorbitant tax tax burden on
    the summer residents in
    Brigantine for such a horribly structured zoning plan and apparently over compensated city employee
    roster. Brigantine deserves it’s reputation as an Atlantic
    City extension with only a bridge as a divide. Brigantine housing values continue to fall ever as other shore town
    values may be stable but at
    least not in decline. There’s
    obviously a reason for this and when you ride around Brigantine, you can easily see the reason. There are very few aesthetically
    pleasing areas of town and
    the Parks, Recreation and Public areas are abysmally unkempt.
    Brigantine will continue carry it’s deserved reputation as an
    Atlantic City extension until
    there is an administration which values and uses wisely the huge amount of taxes the ‘shoobies’contribute.

    Oh, one more question: Why would anyone want to play golf on the dog track Brigantine calls a course.
    What a shameful waste of land and money- but it certainly underscores the self absorbed thinking of the Administration which allows
    objective observers to wonder what drives Brigantine poor voices of priorities.

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