Property taxpayers could see significant increases in both the municipal tax rate and the school district’s tax rate. The school tax levy increased by $7 million in the 2013-14 approved Board of Education budget.
Township Manager Michael Muscillo said the increases are largely caused by $1.7 million set aside for property tax appeals, a $40 million decrease in the overall tax base, costing $1.7 million in taxes, and a $1 million increase each for contracted salaries and health benefits.
“It’s not a spending problem, but a revenue problem,” Muscillo said. “We got killed on tax appeals.”
The trend of declining property values is evident all over Ocean County where the $386 million county budget introduced in April, is also plagued with a $10 billion taxable real estate decline and calls for an increase of 3.7 cents per $100 of assessed value.
While Lakewood was spared significant damage from the storm, it was still left with a $5 million Sandy cleanup bill, officials said.
Yet, some items in the municipal budget remained untouched, such as spending about $1.5 million for free trash pickups for nonpublic schools and universities and houses of worship.
The proposed new tax rate of 78 cents is an increase of less than 9 cents per $100 assessed property value.
During the past three years, township and school district officials did not raise taxes.
The public hearing for the municipal budget will be 7:30 p.m. July 11, at Township Hall, 231 Third St.