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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Avalon Adopts 2024 Budget With No Tax Rate Increase

Avalon Adopts 2024 Budget With No Tax Rate Increase

By Vince Conti

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AVALON – The Borough Council has adopted a $35.8 million municipal budget for 2024 that calls for no increase in the local purpose tax rate, which will remain at $0.206 per $100 of assessed value.

The budget, approved April 10, is 72% supported by local tax revenue, which totals $25.8 million. Some $20.5 million of that total is earmarked for the general fund budget. The other $5.3 million is for support of the borough’s independent, five-star free public library. Avalon, like Ocean City, maintains and operates its own library separate from the county library system.

In addition to the general fund budget, Avalon makes use of two self-financing utilities, one for management of its water and sewer system, budgeted at $8.5 million, and the other for financing the maintenance and operation of the borough’s beaches, budgeted at $2.2 million. The beach utility will see added revenue from an increase in beach tag fees.

Under Avalon’s form of government, the budget is the mayor’s document, which is then transmitted to the governing body’s finance committee for review and possible changes.

It is the eighth time in nine years that the borough has adopted a budget without a tax rate increase.

Avalon will make use of $4.9 million in general fund surplus to cover 14% of the budget’s total expected revenue. The budget also makes use of $1.9 million in library surplus funds.

The budget maintains the borough’s commitment to no long-term general obligation debt. It pays off $3.3 million in short-term debt and allocates $2.4 million to “pay as you go” capital projects.

Another commitment evident in the budget is to the borough’s use of privatization. Business Administrator Scott Wahl said the borough uses outside companies where it believes privatization provides the best service option while also saving taxpayer dollars. Wahl cited as examples the borough’s privatization of trash collection, water system management, landscaping and cleaning of borough buildings.

The budget anticipates the state-mandated inspection and removal of any lead water service lines, a project that will cost roughly $1 million per year for a five- to seven-year period. Wahl said the state program made sense for more urban areas that may have not updated their infrastructure for many years, but makes less sense in a coastal community like Avalon.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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