SEA BRIGHT: After having to wait for a few months, the borough's municipal budget has been adopted.
The $6.1 million budget was introduced in March and contains a $4 million tax levy. Although the levy is higher than last year's, the tax rate is set to drop by 30 cents.
The proposed tax rate is 59 cents per $100 of assessed property, compared to 89 cents per $100 of assessed property in 2015. The decrease is due to the 2015 revaluation, which increased the borough's overall assessment by over $200 million.
Sea Bright Chief Financial Officer Michael Bascom said the borough requested about $360,000 from the Community Development Block Grant For Essential Services grant to help balance the budget.
"We were uncomfortable with the amount of surplus we were utilizing to make that budget balanced, so what we did was apply for a 4th round essential services grant under the impression that the grant program would be available to us for 2016," Bascom said.
However, the borough was not able to secure essential services grant, but was able to get over $416,000 from a different state funding source, according to Bascom, therefore reducing the amount of surplus needed to balance the budget. Over $1 million in surplus was to be used in the original budget, but the amended budget uses $598,760 in surplus.
Bascom said this change does not affect the total budget, the tax levy or the amount to be raised by taxation.
The Sea Bright Council unanimously adopted the budget during its Sept. 6 meeting. Once the state ratifies the budget, the county will strike a tax rate for the borough and tax bills will be sent out.
Bascom added that the borough will also be working with the state to get some additional monies from previously completed projects related to Hurricane Sandy. FEMA paid for 90 percent of many of these projects, but now the borough may be eligible to receive the remaining 10 percent.