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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Middle Introduces ’21 Budget

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By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – Middle Township Committee May 3 introduced a $22.9 million 2021 general operating budget (https://bit.ly/2Q1WCsC), which Auditor Leon Costello said “will be amended for sure.” 

The budget calls for a 2-cent increase in the local purpose tax rate, moving from $0.484 to $0.504 per $100 of assessed value. The increase in the tax rate is being driven by pandemic-induced revenue issues. The planned increase in spending over the previous year is $90,000. 

Revenue shortfalls, in 2020, amounted to over $500,000. This has the effect of driving down what can be used as anticipated revenues in the 2021 budget. 

The principal areas of revenue loss were the hotel/motel occupancy tax, the municipal court, and construction fees. Mayor Timothy Donohue said that while the court is not expected to generate excess revenue, it produces sufficient revenue to cover its costs, which did not happen in 2020. 

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan relief bill contains $360 billion in state and local relief. As part of New Jersey’s share of the relief funds, $1.741 billion is divided among the state’s 565 cities and municipalities. The eventual inclusion of the stimulus funds is the reason Costello said the budget will be amended before being adopted. 

The municipality delayed introducing its budget in the hopes that the rules governing the use of federal municipal stimulus money would be clarified. The municipality was notified that it stands to receive about $1.8 million in stimulus funding to be split evenly over two years. 

A new law requiring community service payments from hospitals provides needed new revenue. The 2021 budget notes a $265,000 payment from Cape Regional Medical Center, the first time that line item has been part of Middle Township’s revenue budget. Costello reminded the public that it will be there each year going forward. 

Donohue ended the budget discussion by saying, “Signs are good that we will be able to reduce this currently projected increase in the local tax rate, substantially I hope.” 

To contact Vince Conti, email vconti@cmcherald.com. 

Spout Off

Lower Township – As a retired long time bus driver for NJT,and an even longer resident of LT : Thank you to all the school bus drivers for an accident free year. It is a monumental achievement in this day and age!

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Del Haven – I couldn't help but note that a Republican Rep likened Trump's speech to that of a drunk uncle at a dinner party, when he ranted about Milwaukee as being a terrible "city", Pelosi…

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Wildwood – I think it's only fitting wbp honors past chief cirelli with some sort of badges on their uniforms . Chief Lou lived for the summers and only wished the best for our city

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