Residents question tax increases at Gloucester budget hearing

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 27, 2013 - 01:34 PM

Photo: About 100 residents braved Monday night’s cold temperatures to attend a public hearing on Gloucester County’s proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget that was held in the Gloucester High School auditorium. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

About 100 residents braved Monday night’s cold temperatures to attend a public hearing on Gloucester County’s proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget that was held in the Gloucester High School auditorium. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

After hearing the comments made Monday night, it was apparent a number of Gloucester residents think a tax increase would be a wrong move, given the current economic climate.

About 100 residents attended the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors’ public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget in the Gloucester High School auditorium.

County administrator Brenda Garton’s proposed $138 million fiscal year 2014 budget calls for a 4¢ increase in the county’s real estate tax rate as well as a $1.95 increase on the rate at which boats are assessed.

Garton said each penny of the real estate tax generates approximately $400,000 in additional revenue ($1.6 million for four cents), while the increase in the boat tax would add roughly $600,000 to the county’s coffers.

There was some support shown for the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, with approximately 30 audience members standing up to indicate their backing for maintaining current funding levels. And several representatives of other organizations also came to thank the board for its continued support. However, most of comments Monday night took aim at Garton’s proposed tax increases.

York district resident Jason Frazier, a commercial waterman in the county, asked the board of supervisors to say no to the proposed boat tax and the proposed increase in the real estate tax rate. "They will leave," he said, referring to boat owners who keep their boats in local waters. "You’ll lose the revenue that they generate in this county."