Recommendations could cost 30¢ hike in personal property rates

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jan 29, 2014 - 01:56 PM
Gloucester residents could see what equates to a 30-cent increase in their personal property tax rates beginning in June if the county’s board of supervisors accepts the recommendation made by members of the Capital Improvement Project advisory committee.
CIP committee chair Tom Sawyer presented the committee’s recommendations for fiscal years 2015-19 to the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors during its meeting last Thursday night in the colonial courthouse. One of the main recommendations from the committee was using the personal property rate increase to finance a facilities maintenance/replacement fund.
During its Jan. 7 meeting, the board of supervisors made it clear that they wanted county administrator Brenda Garton to develop the next year’s budget with the assumption that there would be no tax increases levied on residents.
Gloucester Point district supervisor Chris Hutson, who serves on the CIP committee, said committee members questioned whether they should even bring this recommendation forward, which had been studied and developed prior to the board’s admonition. “The committee decided it should present to us what it feels is best and then it’s up to the board to make some judgment about what’s best for the county,” Hutson said.
Since the economic downturn hit the county hard beginning in 2008, it has been unable to put money into a replacement or maintenance fund for its capital assets.
Other CIP committee recommendations included using excess fund balance in the county’s general fund of $1.2 million (from the $2.3 million available) for the most immediate, urgent capital needs and consider sweeping, on an annual basis, any excess fund balance in the general fund to the capital fund.