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Friday, May 17, 2024

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Middle Adopts $27.6M Budget for 2024

Middle Adopts $27.6M Budget for 2024

By Vince Conti

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COURT HOUSE – The Middle Township Committee has adopted a $27.6 million budget for 2024 that calls for a tax rate increase of $0.029.

The new local purpose tax rate of $0.595 per $100 of assessed value, a 5.16% increase over last year, means a home assessed at $275,000 will see an increase in the local tax of $80.39 annually. The local purpose tax represents about 29% of the estimated total tax bill for that $275,000 property. The remaining portions of the tax bill are accounted for by the school district tax, county tax and fire district tax.

The general-purpose budget went up by about $420,000, or 1.55%, over last year, going from $27.2 million in 2023 to $27.6 million this year.

Township auditor Leon Costello called the budget, adopted on May 6, “more stable than the last couple of years.” The township is still recovering from income losses during the pandemic years. The budget has also had to cope with new expenses caused by state increases for employee health-care premiums and pensions.

In addition, this year late in the budget process the township was notified that Inspira would not be renewing its contract for ambulance and emergency medical services. Mayor Chris Leusner called the Inspira news a “curveball” for the budget. He also said that he was confident the township would have a solution to the ambulance service by the time Inspira’s services end after Labor Day.

Chief Financial Officer Neil Young said the township’s surplus, at $4 million, is at historic levels, and that the budget makes use of a little over half of that amount to offset additional taxation.

The separate budget for the self-financing sewer utility was $5.9 million, up from $5.5 million in 2023, a 7% jump. The utility finances its activities through user fees of $5.1 million, a small use of surplus funds and some miscellaneous revenues.

No members of the public spoke at the budget hearing.

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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