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Gloucester City Council Approves $20.1 Million Budget; The Average Tax Increase for Municipal Services $17

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews



In March the State of New Jersey announced it had received $10.9 billion in aid from the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law by President Joe Biden that month. Of that amount, $6.434 billion went to the state government, $189 million to expand broadband internet, $1.823 billion for 21 counties, and $1.741 for 565 municipalities.  The impression given by the Feds and the Murphy Administration was that cities across New Jersey were going to receive millions and millions of dollars to help keep local governments operating. A list of cities and towns and the amounts they received was provided to the press. The City of Gloucester City was given $1,102,067.19 according to the information.  

We asked Mayor Keating what did the City do with that money? 

"The city is eligible to receive $ 1.1 million dollars, that is the funding for which we have to apply through the state and is to be used over the three years based on formulas, particularly reduced revenues since June 2019 as a base year. No revenues could be included in this budget pending approval of the application. We did submit the application and depending on the guidance we get from NJ DCA we can see where the funding can fit. "


GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (July 7, 2021)—The Gloucester City council, approved this year's 2021-22 spending plan totaling $20,178,488.  The budget is $721,097 LESS than last year's figure of $20,899,585. It was introduced on April 22 and advertised on May 20. The budget was approved at the Public hearing on June 7 by a 5-0 vote.

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Councilman Patrick Keating, who was named mayor by the council replacing Dan Spencer released the following statement to questions about the budget and other topics that were asked by CNBNews.


"Although the total budget is less the City's Local Purpose Tax increased to $2.535 per $100 of valuation compared to last year's figure of $2.381 per $100 or 0.154 more. A home assessed at an average of $108,000 will pay an estimated $274 more compared to last year's number of $257. A $17 increase for the year. "


Keating said, "This year's Debt Service is $1,339,000 or $51,400 more than last year's number of $1,339,000 for an increase of 3.9 percent. "


He provided a breakdown of employees' salaries and pensions for the calendar years of 2021 and 2020. 


Cost for Employees salaries, pensions $14,447,496.


Employees salaries…. 


CY 2021……. $8,517,777


CY 2020…….. 8,302,665

INCREASE……….$  $215,212


Employees pensions/Social Security


CY 2021……….$2,189,719

CY 2020…………2,014,719

INCREASE……..    $175,655


As for Capital Improvements, Mayor Keating said, "We have left some room for capital items but that is done by ordinance and we have not fully gotten that list worked out yet. If we determine what we want to do we will do capital purchases later in the year. Our top priorities are street repairs, police equipment, and vehicles. We like to include building maintenance but that is not high on our list." 


Keating was asked if Gloucester City received any money from the Covid 19 stimulus funds or any other federal  or state relief funds this year,


"There are grants through the county to the state we are applying for which can cover expenditures from last year due to Covid needs. Those applications are in process. There's federal money available for municipalities. Since we are a town of less than 50,000 we have to apply to the State of New Jersey for funds based upon formulas they developed on revenues. Our application was submitted promptly this funding is to be used over 3 years 2021, 2022, and 2023."


The interim mayor was asked if he had to run in November for the remainder of Spencer's term. "There will be an election in November for the unexpired mayoral term, I do not know who all will be running. As for the present council seat that is vacant, the seat has not yet been filled, and there will be an election for that seat in November as well. "

 There are three parts to the tax bill, they include Camden County, the Gloucester City School District, and the City of Gloucester City. Mayor and council only control that portion of your taxes that pertain to the city. 

Property tax revenues collected per capita in New Jersey amounted to $3,378 in the fiscal Screen Shot 2021-07-07 at 22.8.47year 2018, the highest level among the 50 states, according to a new Tax Foundation analysis.

The fiscal year 2018 was the most recent year that such data was available, the foundation reported. Property tax collections made up 31.1 percent of the total state and local taxes and nearly 72 percent of local tax collections across the nation, according to the analysis.

Nationwide, the average amount of property taxes collected per capita was $1,675, the study said, though the amount collected can vary significantly from state to state.

Urban and higher-income areas generally pay higher property taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. The revenues fund local government services such as public education, roadways, public safety personnel, and medical services.

Near the beginning of the year, NJ ADVANCE MEDIA reported on the 30 communities in the state with the highest property taxes. The City of Gloucester City was listed at Number 23 in that group. 

Three years before the City was also Number 23 out of 30 in the year 2018. From the CNBNews article:

  • Number 23: GLOUCESTER CITY-Equalized tax rate in Gloucester City, Camden County was 4.179 in 2017 

The average equalized tax rate in Camden County: 3.523

The tax rate on homeowners' bills: 4.231

Average property tax bill: $4,552