School Board Proposes 4.5% Tax Hike
Public hearing on 2012-13 Manasquan schools budget scheduled March 27
Manasquan school officials on Tuesday introduced next school year's proposed budget, which would see taxes rise by 4.5 percent to cover a near $600,000 increase in spending.
The proposed 2012-13 school year budget calls for a 2.2 percent increase in overall expenditures, bringing the total budget to $26,453,67 -- an increase of $568,647 from last year.
The increase in expenditures would be paid for by an identical increase in revenues, covered by an extra $601,364 raised in taxes, according to budget figures, which translates to a 4.5 percent tax levy hike.
Next year's proposed tax rate of 86.19 cents per $100 of assessed property value would mean an increase of $187 on a home valued at $500,000 (roughly the borough average). The annual tax bill on such a property would be $4309.50.
Using a certain loophole, the district can increase taxes by more than the state-mandated 2 percent cap since it did not raise taxes last year.
The district has $465,661 in banked cap -- money that could have been raised in taxes last year but the board chose not to -- from an unused permitted increase of $222,225 in health benefits and another $243,436 that could have been raised by increasing last year's levy by 2 percent, which the board did not do.
The board proposes to use $357,928 of that banked cap, which does not count against the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.
Schools Superintendent Geraldine Margin said the district would use those funds to restore four certified staff positions, add outside counseling for the High School, and restore athletic and field trip accounts.
Margin also said the district had to account for $478,000 in unfunded state and county mandates.
In other areas, the district was able to offset an anticipated $814,000 decrease in tuition revenues due to declining high school enrollment on its balance sheet by holding over $450,000 in maintenance reserve funds, increasing its balance appropriations by nearly $200,000 and netting an extra $111,000 in state aid.
Replacing the boilers at the Elementary School will cost roughly $327,000, according to budget figures.
The district's $850,000 maintenance reserve will be spent either partially or entirely on the High School roof replacement project.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for the next School Board meeting, 7 p.m. March 27 at the Elementary School.