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Long Branch Adopts $54.4 Million Municipal Budget

LONG BRANCH: The city council unanimously adopted the 2015 municipal budget during its June 9 meeting.

The budget totals $54.4 million of which $35.8 million will be paid by local taxes.

That means that the owner of the average city home of $375,000 would day $3,344 in taxes in 2015 under the proposed budget. Long Branch Chief Financial Officer Ron Mehlhorn said the taxes are up 2.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, equaling a $90 increase for the owner of the average city home.

A half cent of the increase is due to a $200,000 increase in the city's operating budget and the remaining two cents is "totally due to the drop in the ratable base," Mehlhorn said.

This was a result of the county's new procedure which requires the city's tax assessor to look at all the assessments in the city each year and reassess them according to market value changes in the city. The old system involved setting assessments when a revaluation occurred every few years. This is the first year for the new county system.

Resident Vincent Lepore requested a no-vote on the budget after citing various line items.

Lepore said the fact that the city's new ratables for new construction in 2011 were $22 million and that the number has not greatly changed is a problem.

"Council, one half of one percent growth against ratables, that's appalling for the city, your redevelopment has failed," Lepore said.

The 2015-16 Long Branch School District budget was adopted by the Long Branch Board of Education in April and totals $95.3 million, an increase over last year's budget of $93.2 million.

The budget carries a 7 cent tax increase and a tax rate of .077 cents per $100 of assessed value.

For the owners of a home valued at $365,000, it's a $23 per month increase.


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