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Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Cape May’s Interim Manager Presents ’21 Budget

By Vince Conti

CAPE MAY – Interim City Manager Michael Voll Feb. 16 presented his budget to Cape May City Council. Under Cape May’s form of government, the city manager is required to submit a budget to the governing body.  

The council may make changes it deems necessary before introducing the 2021 budget. This year, March 30 is the state deadline for municipal budget introductions.  

The presented budget totals $32.2 million, with the current fund portion of the budget at $21 million, and the three self-financing utilities at $7.2 million for water/sewer services, $2.8 million for beach operations and $1.1 million for tourism activities. 

The city manager’s budget calls for an increase in the local purpose tax rate of almost one cent. The rate would move from $0.3630 per $100 of assessed value to $0.3724, an increase of $0.0094, which equates to a 2.6% increase in the local tax rate. 

The budget calls for using $3.3 million from the city’s surplus, which is the same amount used in 2019. Chief Financial Officer Neil Young showed the council that 2019 ended with an addition of $500,000 to the current fund surplus. 

Young reiterated a point he made many times concerning the need for an increase in the water/sewer fees. He also noted the budget calls for a 2% increase in beach utility spending, which, he said, is largely due to the continuing rise in the state minimum wage paid to beach taggers.  

A 19% decrease in the budget for the tourism utility was due to the revenue decline experienced during 2020, when most Convention Hall programs were canceled, Young stated. Those programs are a major source of revenue for the utility. 

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