Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton
On behalf of the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders – I’d like to offer this year’s message introducing the 2012 county budget.
In developing this budget, after five straight years of revenue loss from transfer fees at the County Clerk’s office, we experienced a slight increase in transfer fees but the sharp decline in our interest on investments continued. Adding to that, for the third straight year, we had a staggering loss in our ratable base – in 2011 alone we saw a loss of over two billion dollars.
Despite these financial set-backs – I believe we are introducing a solid budget that will continue to protect the services that residents need and expect from county government – while staying affordable to the taxpayers of Cape May County.
This year’s budget keeps our tax rate increase less than one cent and our tax levy just at a one percent increase. Keep in mind that most of this tax rate increase is directly attributable to the loss of ratables.
The specific overview breakdown of this year’s budget in rounded-off dollars is as follows:
1. The Total County Budget for the Year 2012 is $139.1 million compared to the adopted 2011 Budget of $143.7 million. Total operating expenses are $69.8 million reflecting a decrease of $3.3 million. Total Salaries and Wages increased slightly by $100,000 to $44.9 million. The net effect of operating expenses and salaries and wages is a decrease of 3.2 percent. This decrease is also resulting from an accounting change that reduces offsetting revenues and expenses.
2. The amount of money to be raised by property taxes to support the 2012 budget is $94.6 million compared to $93.7 million for the year 2011. The amount of revenue other than property tax used to support the budget is $44.5 million.
3. The budget uses approximately 53% of our surplus. Specifically - $11.9 million of the available $22.4 million.
4. The County equalized tax rate for 2012 will be .19 cents per $100.00 of assessed value. Although it will vary depending on the ratio of assessed value to true value in each of the County’s sixteen municipalities; an average taxpayer will pay $190.00 for $100,000 of property assessment.
The 2012 Budget complies with the New Jersey “CAP” Law. Public Hearing on the Budget will be held at 4:30 p.m. on February 28, 2012 in the Freeholders’ Meeting Room at the County Administration Building. Public comment and recommendations are welcome. In addition to being on hand at the Office of the Clerk of the Board at the Administration Building – this proposed budget will be accessible on the county website at capemaycountygov.net
2012 Introduced Budget Document PDF