Draft Ocean City Budget Increases Tax Levy by 2.89 Percent

first_imgCity Council went to work Wednesday on a municipal budget that will ask Ocean City taxpayers for an extra 2.89 percent in 2014.The budget at this stage is a work in progress, and City Council will not approve a final version until the spring. A public workshop on Wednesday included a presentation from Mayor Jay Gillian’s administration on projected revenue and tax rates.The owner of a $500,000 home In Ocean City would see an increase of $78.95 in municipal taxes if the budget were approved as is.The owner of a $500,000 home that was one of 4,500 that were reassessed by the city this year would pay less. On average, that home would be reassessed at about $40,000 less, and the owner would see a decrease of $85 in municipal taxes.With a three-year, in-house program to reassess 17,000 properties in Ocean City now complete, tax rates should begin to stabilize, according to Finance Director Frank Donato, who said he’s confident that homes are now assessed at “true market value.”The municipal budget and a small library tax accounted for about 50 percent of a property owner’s tax bill in 2013. The other half was divided evenly between county taxes and school taxes.The budget includes a record high “fund balance” of $5.8 million, due in part to an extra $500,000 in construction code fees as Ocean City rebuilt in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.The high balance of reserve funds helps the city earn low-interest ratings when it borrows money. But Councilman Keith Hartzell asked if the administration would consider returning the one-time windfall to taxpayers.The draft budget calls for a spending increase of 1.01 percent, and City Council will hold another public workshop on proposed budget expenses 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 20) at the Ocean City Free Public Library.See more detail on the proposed budget on the financial management page of the Ocean City website.last_img read more