AVALON, NJ--The Avalon Borough Council introduced a new $32.8 million budget that results in a zero tax increase for the third consecutive year. The budget was introduced during the Wednesday, February 24th Council meeting with a public hearing and final adoption scheduled in several weeks. The budget maintains the municipal tax rate at 19.9 cents, which is one of the lowest tax rates in the State of New Jersey. This budget also meets the Borough’s prior pledge and obligation for the elimination of all long term general debt service.
“The 2021 municipal budget took much time and effort to assemble due to the Covid-19 pandemic impacting various revenues in 2020”, said Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi. “Due to sound financial practices, a AAA bond rating, the elimination of all long term general debt, and a generous surplus that is carried over from year to year, we were able to eliminate the need for a tax increase while still providing necessary improvements and the quality of life experiences expected and endorsed in Avalon”.
The actual budget is higher than last year’s spending plan due to Avalon’s acceptance of a $2 million grant from the Cape May County Open Space Program for the construction of Surfside Park; increased surplus return from the Avalon Free Public Library; and mandated increases in statutory and other expenses. The budget includes a $7 million payment towards short term debt obligations. The Borough will also obligate $2.366 million for current year projects.
“The Avalon Council Finance Committee met repeatedly with the Finance Department and Administration to develop a budget that is both practical, and responsible”, said Avalon Council President John McCorristin, who serves on the Committee with Councilwoman Dr. Nancy Hudanich. “Avalon’s commitment on the financial health of the community is an everyday task, and this budget represents vision and planning for the short and long term financial sustainability of our community”.
Avalon’s Beach Utility Fund has increased in 2021 due to increased seasonal wages created by the State’s annual increase in minimum wages, and to create a wage structure that is competitive with other communities. Avalon will not have an increase in the costs for seasonal beach tags for the third consecutive year. The water and sewer budget also includes no increase in rates and pays down debt.
Various capital project improvements will be implemented in Avalon in 2021. They include a spring, 2021 sand back passing project; various public access, resiliency, and environmental enhancements at Avalon’s Bay Park Marina; accessibility and safety improvements on Avalon’s boardwalk; an addition to the Avalon Volunteer Fire Department’s main building; drainage improvements for north end beach blocks; and the construction of the 78th Street pump station. Avalon has secured a grant in excess of over $1 million from the Cape May County Open Space program for improvements to Bay Park Marina.
source: Borough of Avalon