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Thursday, July 25, 2024


From the County: A $2-4M ‘Favor’ ~ Proposal Depends On DCA Approval

By Rick Racela

The $2 million to $4 million is the equivalent of a half-cent or one cent of the county tax rate, according to Freeholder-Director Daniel Beyel.  The county tax rate is being dropped this year to 17.1 cents from 20.6 cents, largely due to escalating property values. That equates to a tax of $171 for every $100,000 of assessed value.
Beyel referred to the new proposal in his budget message last week when he said the county is “exploring the most practical and beneficial way that we can use some of the surplus to help support municipal capital projects throughout the county.”
County Administrator Stephen O’Connor referred briefly to the proposal at the Jan. 24 meeting of the Cape May County League of Municipalities at the Golden Inn in Avalon.
One potential problem: whether the state Department of Community Affairs will permit such a use of county money.
O’Connor told members of the League that, if DCA turned down the idea, the county would work with its local legislators. Seated at the table with him were State Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano (D-1st).
Beyel, who denied sharing the surplus was a response to Democratic campaign complaints about the size of the surplus, said county Treasurer Ed Grant was communicating with DCA, in the hope the county could amend its budget to insert the program at the public budget meeting at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 28.
Beyel said the intent is that this program continue “indefinitely,” but that would have to be decided annually according to funds available.
“Each year the auditor would recommend how much of the surplus would be used, if any,” said O’Connor.
The grants, Beyel said, would run from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $750,000.
What kind of project would qualify?
“The details of the criteria haven’t been worked out yet,” said O’Connor.
“We would like to see projects that enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors, recreational and outdoorsy, something all people would see, something they would like to develop, but did not have the resources for,” said Beyel.
He also noted that, “hypothetically, this could enable local projects without tax increases (since) some municipalities are looking at tax rate increases because of health care and things of that sort.”
“We are trying to do them a favor,” said Beyel. “We would like to see funding where it can do some good.”
The review committee that would examine grant applications, said Beyel, would consist of him, “one other freeholder,” O’Connor, Grant, and County Engineer Dale Foster.
Contact Zelnik at (609) 886-8600 Ext. 27 or:

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