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Seaside Park Property Taxes to Rise, But Should be Offset by School Tax Reduction

Seaside Park, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Seaside Park, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Municipal property taxes in Seaside Park will rise in 2023, driven primarily by state mandates and significant increases in insurance premiums, however a reduction in the formula-based property taxes levied by the Central Regional school district are expected to offset the increase in the average resident’s annual tax bill.

The Seaside Park borough council on Thursday night adopted the borough’s annual spending plan, in which the municipal portion of one’s property tax bill will rise by 1.6 cents per $100 of assessed real property valuation, or 2.86 percent over last year. For 2023, the total operating budget will be $12,246,495, supported by a tax levy of $6,863,153. The borough will utilize $2.14 million in surplus funds to support the operating budget, in line with last year’s $2.1 million in surplus that was dedicated to property tax relief.

Councilman William Kraft said the budget increases were driven largely by factors outside of the borough’s control, including mandates from the state and insurance premiums that rose considerably over the previous year.

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“The statutory mandated increases are $304,931, which is really less than the budget increase we’re doing this year,” said Kraft.

The borough’s liability insurance premium rose by 16.8 percent this year to about $260,000, employee health benefits costs rose by 23 percent under a state-mandated plan to about $870,000, and workers’ compensation insurance premiums skyrocketed by 51 percent to $457,000. Kraft, responding to a question from a resident, said the borough had not seen any notable increase in insurance premium claims, nor was there any like increase in the borough’s workforce or salary levels. Many municipal governments have been experiencing the same issues, he said.

“Overall, the governing body has done a great job putting together this budget,” said Kraft.

For residents, the increase in the municipal portion of the tax bill will be offset by a reduction in property tax revenue that must be collected on behalf of the Central Regional school district. Central Regional taxes will drop by 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation.

The Central Regional tax bill changes annually, based on a formula which takes into account the district’s own budget as well as the number of students from Seaside Park who matriculate in the district. This year, Seaside Park is sending 37 students to the regional school system, which serves seventh through twelfth grade students.

“The two basically offset each other,” said Kraft.

The borough was also able to retire $100,000 in annual loan payments to the state’s Green Acres program for the J Street Marina purchase, which has been paid off, though overall debt service rose by $38,000 to $769,000, well under the state’s debt ceiling for local governments.

“We certainly thank your committee and all of the department heads, because work starts on this back in the 2022 calendar year, usually in November,” Mayor John Peterson told Kraft. “We look through any and all sources of revenue and expenditures – a lot of work went into this, and it seemed received well by the public at our workshop meeting.”

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