Beach council holds budget hearing for 2021 spending

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Point Pleasant Beach Borough Hall FILE PHOTO

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The borough held a public hearing on the proposed 2021 municipal budget during its council meeting May 18. 

Members are awaiting budgetary approval from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs [DCA], which is backed up, according to Borough Administrator Christine Riehl. Once the budget is approved by the DCA, the borough can add the budget to an agenda as a resolution for adoption.

The $15,896,155 spending plan represents an increase of $604,509 over the current municipal budget.

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This 3.9 percent appropriation increase would trigger an annual municipal tax increase of $62.40 on a home assessed at the borough average of $567,308 — a 2.57 percent hike. The tax rate per $100 would go from .428 to .439.

According to Ms. Riehl, the amount to be raised by taxes is $8,954,769, which is $257,641 more than for 2020. 

The 2021 appropriations include $6,793,987 in operating expenses, salaries and wages, $4,895,743 in other expenses, $1,627,552 in deferred charges, $155,000 in capital improvements, $1,931,433 in debt service and $492,440 in reserve for uncollected taxes amounting to the total general appropriations at $15,896,155. 

The borough’s current surplus is $1,195,000 with total miscellaneous revenues coming in at $5,416,386 and receipts from delinquent taxes at $330,000.

Ms. Riehl said some of the capital projects covered in the 2021 budget are town-wide security cameras, a new sanitation truck, water valve exercising and an inlet access improvement project.

The budget also addresses many road improvements on Central Avenue, Ocean and Arnold avenues with curb work, road repairs to Harvard Avenue and Danby Place and preliminary work for Route 35 South for future water main replacement.

“In the grand scheme of things, I thought this budget was extremely strong,” said Mayor Paul Kanitra. 

“Considering all the things we’re doing in this town, the fact that we’re fixing everything up, cleaning everything up, making it shine, I think the tourists are going to recognize that.”

“I’m not happy with it,” Councilman Bob Santanello told members. “We’re taking a half a million dollars from surplus, that’s a rainy day fund and that’s never ever a good move, other than last year.”

The borough lost around $100,000 in parking revenue last summer, along with a rise in police activity and more, the mayor said.

He also said the borough sees increases in health insurance, police and fire pensions, liability insurance, workman’s compensation, social security and more.

“Last year was a pandemic, this year was a pandemic,” he said. 

Officials said they are expecting a busy summer in 2021.

“Everybody’s going to be doing staycations,” said Mayor Kanitra. “They’re not going to be getting on planes and going everywhere.”

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