The Brigantine Taxpayers Association (BTA) offered their thoughts on the proposed Municipal City Budget.
BTA says: The Brigantine City Manager introduced his proposed municipal budget to the City Council on 2/20/19. This is a “working” budget. It’s now subject to Council’s scrutiny, comments and changes.
A public hearing and a vote for adoption are scheduled for April 3. Unfortunately, too often this part of the process is considered a routine matter by Brigantine Council, with a “yes” vote expected and given.
Different opinions and viewpoints based on facts can be helpful in saving taxpayers money on their property taxes. They should be discussed in a public meeting before the vote.
In an analysis of the proposed Brigantine Municipal budget, several numbers deserve closer attention:
- Amount of City’s surplus (fund balance) at year’s end
- Amount of local municipal tax rate. (school district and county have separate budgets and tax rates.)
The Brigantine fund surplus continues to set records.
- $6.2 million for year ending 12/31/19
- $6.3 million for year ending 12/31/18
An excessive general fund surplus means excessive taxation in Brigantine.
As in 2018, $2,850,000, less than 50% of the $6.2 million, is allocated for use in the 2019 budget, leaving a $3.4 million surplus balance. The less money allocated, the more taxpayers pay in property taxes.
As stated in the 2018 and 2019 Manager’s reports, “The 2018 surplus was substantially replenished and it is anticipated that a significant portion of the used balance in 2019 will also be replenished by the end of this year as well”. Yes, with unnecessary taxation.
Brigantine City Council members have criticized increases in the municipal tax-rate in the years 2013 and 2014. A different political party was in control then, so that’s understandable.
However, when the whole story is told, a different picture emerges. Those increases were retained when today’s majority regained control, except for annual less than 1 to 2 cent tax- rate reductions over the next 5 years, a total of 6.3 cents in reductions.
The increases have continued to generate historically big surpluses in Brigantine.
The way to benefit taxpayers is NOT to overtax them….and then boast of a [miniscule] tax-rate reduction.
In the proposed budget, a penny is worth $329,613, with a tax-rate reduction of 1.7 cents, bringing the municipal tax-rate to 64.8 cents per $100 of assessed value – in 2019, total City valuation of $3.3 billion, in 2018, $3.26 billion, a gain of almost $30 million. Council is now able to work with these figures to increase this reduction by increasing the surplus allocation for use in the budget.
As they have done in previous years, the BTA asks Brigantine City Council to make these changes before voting: correcting too much surplus, too little tax-rate reduction.
Sincerely, Brigantine Taxpayers Association, Anne H. Phillips, President