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Atlantic City mayor heralds tax decrease, revenue increase in budget

  • Government

Atlantic City's mayor gave a sneak peek at his proposed budget that sees taxes going down and revenue headed back up.

"When other municipalities around us all have tax increases, what we're handing to the taxpayers is a 10.2-cent tax decrease," Mayor Marty Small said as he introduced his budget Wednesday.

The school budget would be another 7 cents in reduction, he said, giving a hat tip to his wife, Superintendent LaQuetta Small.

The amount behind collected from taxpayer is $36 million, a 5.8 percent decrease over last year's $38.2 million.

"Men, women, political opportunists lie but numbers don’t," Small said. "That is fiscal responsibility. That is putting the taxpayers first as we promised."

Tax collection rates are up to 98.8 percent up from 94.9 in 2019, he said.

The ratable base is also heading back up after a decline that saw a $2.524 billion decrease to $2.398 billion last year. It’s now up to $2.406 billion, about a quarter-million off of 2022.

"If we finally seal the deal with Bader Field, it will be more than double the ratable base," he said.

The road was no an easy one, Business Administrator Anthony Swan said.

He said he met with each department, explaining that "the pie is one size, and we have to cut the slices out for each department."

The biggest slices, he explained, are police and fire, "and rest get what's left."

"I challenge you to find another municipality who is this fiscally responsible," he said.

Small pointed to a smaller payroll as part of the reason, with 963 current full-time workers down from 1,400.

The budget includes a pay increase for all non-uniformed city employees of $4,500, with the increase prorated for part-time employees.

Auditor Leon Costello said he had to act as referee in the process, making sure all the laws were followed.

“This budget is both conservative and sustainable,” city Chief Financial Officer Toro Aboderin said. “Mayor Small has worked extremely hard to get us to where we are today with the budget, and we never would be here without his perseverance and dedication. We’re not hoping it’s going to work, we know it's going to work because the city is in a good place financially.”

Small started the announcement by pointing out that, since he took office in 2019, there have been no tax increases, structural deficits or reduction in services.

"We’ve done more with less and there has been no reduction in services," he said. "In fact, we have been able to increase the services we offer for taxpayers here in the city of Atlantic City."


author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
STEWARTVILLE
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