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RED BANK: 2024 BUDGET STAYS THE COURSE

Empty chairs abounded at the budget hearing attended by several members of the borough council – and four members of the public.  (Photo by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

By BRIAN DONOHUE

The owner of an average-priced home in Red Bank will pay about $104 more in taxes to support town services this year under a municipal budget outlined by borough officials last night that roughly keeps pace with inflation.

At public budget hearing Tuesday evening, Borough Manager Jim Gant unveiled the first spending plan since he took the reigns at Borough Hall in January, saying the level of services will remain stable while the town begins budgeting for several big ticket public works projects.

A slide from the 2024 budget presentation. .( Click to enlarge.)

 

 

“This budget is increasing by less than three percent,” Gant said. “It’s a very solid budget. We are not hurting services at all.”

The budget was introduced by the Borough Council last week. It is scheduled for a public hearing and final vote at the May 9 council meeting.

Overall spending in the $30 million plan is up by about $4 million – but the bulk of that increase is the result of a boost in grant money, including a $2 million state grant for electric vehicles, Borough Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seaman explained.

The owner of a home assessed at the town wide average of $538,582 will pay  a total of $10,006 under the proposed budget. 

Of that, $2,639 will go to the municipality, an increase of $104, or 2.9 percent, over last year.

The bulk of the total $56 million raised by property taxes –  about 60 percent- goes to support the borough schools and Red Bank Regional High School.

The total tax rate has actually dropped somewhat due to a substantial rise in assessed values of properties. taxes-220x219-4579106

Residential values have risen 16 percent over last year, Seaman said. 

On the spending side, total salaries and wages will rise seven percent in the new budget. 

Meanwhile, the town is gearing up to cover the costs of several big ticket projects, through a mix of tax revenues, grant money and bonding. 

Those projects include the continued replacement of lead water service lines, a plan to redesign Marine Park, the resurfacing of numerous streets throughout town. 

Also in the works is renovation of the decrepit Department of Public Works Facility on Chestnut Street, where employees are working out of trailers that are years beyond their utility. 

“It’s hard to recruit talent when you have facilities like that,” Gant said. 

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