BERKELEY – Six and a half years after Superstorm Sandy blasted the waterfront sections of the township, Berkeley’s ratable base has finally recovered, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.
And in part because of that recovery, there will be no municipal tax increase in Berkeley Township this year, the mayor said.
Berkeley’s ratable base is now $5,175,652. The ratable base was $5,089,815,160 in 2014.
“We are now fully recovered from those losses,” Amato said at the March 25 Township Council meeting.
The 2019 municipal budget will total $47,046,044, up from $46,716,487, an increase of $329,556 over last year. The amount to be raised by taxation will be $33,434,022, Amato said.
That translates into no municipal tax increase. On a home assessed at the township average of $201,200, homeowners will pay $1,299 in 2019. The municipal budget numbers do not include other taxes, such as those from the schools and county, the mayor said.
“It’s a good budget,” he said.
The municipal tax rate will remain at $.6460 per $100 of assessed valuation. Operations and expenditures for this year have been frozen at last year’s levels, he said.
“This budget’s emphasis remains on long range financial stability, continued public infrastructure improvements and our continuing commitment to provide the important services that our residents have come to expect,” Amato said.
In other business, township officials blasted Aqua New Jersey for its recent request for a nearly 18 percent rate increase for residents and businesses.
Township Council members unanimously passed a resolution opposing the proposed increase.
“…as there have been noted concerns about the quality of water of water provided by Aqua Water by the residents and professionals of Berkeley Township, this additional rate increase request is particularly ill-timed and unconscionable,” the resolution states.
Aqua wants the state Board of Public Utilities to allow an increased usage fee from per $5.41 for each 1,000 gallons used to $6.49 for each 1,000 gallons used. If BPU approves the increase, that means an extra $11 per month or an extra $132 per year,
Township officials on Monday night also honored members of the Bayville Fire Deparment who answered the most calls in 2018. Fire department members answered 504 calls last year.
James Sperber answered the most calls at 384. He was followed by Ian Saxer with 381 calls, John Anderson with 362; Richard Jennings with 351; Rich Straut with 348; John McKay with 332; Brian LeTrent with 325, Rich Foster with 310; Tom Brady with 269 and Lester Anderson with 249 calls.
In addition to answering calls, department members also train once or twice a week, Chief John Anderson said.
“This is our second home, this is our second family,” Anderson said.