BRICK – The proposed township budget that was introduced in late March this year went from a zero percent increase to a slight decrease, said Mayor Lisa Crate during a brief statement at the beginning of the April 25 Council Meeting.
“Over the past several weeks, I have worked with our financial team to review every line item of our budget to look for ways to keep our tax levy stable,” she said.
“By sharpening our pencils and reviewing our operations further, we identified operating costs that we were able to reduce by keeping our tax levy stable, we have actually slightly – slightly – decreased the local purpose tax rate,” the mayor said.
The original proposed budget of $115,739,974 was reduced to $115,467,763.
Mayor Crate said it is important to realize that this decrease is only for the township portion of the taxes and does not consider any increased levy to the school district, county or fire district.
About one third of the property tax bill is dedicated to the municipal portion for municipal uses. The tax levy, which is supported by local property taxes, is $80,547,357, down from the originally proposed amount of $80,819,568.
The beginning of the meeting was also a public hearing on the municipal budget, which is required before its final adoption by the governing body.
After there were no comments or questions from the audience, the governing body unanimously adopted the 2023 municipal budget.
Mayor Crate, who took office in February after Mayor John Ducey resigned after nine years to take on a new position as a Superior Court Judge, said her first budget as mayor was “a huge endeavor.”
She thanked Township Chief Financial Officer Maureen Laffey-Berg and Business Administrator Joanne Bergin for their “monumental amount of work” in preparing the budget.
During the period of the meeting where elected officials can comment on anything, Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero said everyone should understand that preparing the budget is a year-round effort by the administration and department heads.
“Any major expenditure is really examined in terms of long-term financial cost, and so that’s work all year round,” she said. “I think that the budget is a work of art and a lot of effort, so I want to acknowledge that.”
Copies of the budget are posted on the township website.
In other news, a bid for the Brick Beach 1 food concession stand was awarded to Big Blue Wrap and Roll of Pine Beach in the total amount of $19,100 for three seasons ($6,200 for 2023 season, $6,400 for the 2024 season, and $6,500 for the 2025 season). The contract concludes on September 30, 2025.
Bid notices were provided to 180 prospective bidders, six picked up bid packages and only one bid was received, said Councilwoman Andrea Zapcic.