Ocean City —
City council on April 26 approved a $67 million municipal budget for 2012, which includes a local tax rate increase from 33.8 cents to 35.4 cents per $100 of assessed value, a change of 1.69 cents.
The amount to be raised by taxes, the tax levy, is $43 million, a reduction of $169,000.
The city’s available surplus fell from $5.4 million in 2011 to $5 million this year, a difference of $398,728.
The city’s assessed value fell $12.8 billion to $12.1 billion, a decrease of $678 million, or 5 percent.
City Business Administrator Michael Dattilo said the budget was “reasonable” and “sound,” but added the city continues to face challenges with its budgeting.
“We have to continue to look at everything,” Dattilo said. “Budgeting is a continuing process, particularly during these times...We’re going to monitor just where we are in terms of revenues and expenses and I want to make sure we update council where we stand.”
City Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato said there were 810 tax appeals filed to the city for 2012. Last year, there were 650 tax appeals filed.
Councilman Roy Wagner, who has a reputation for voting against yearly budgets, supported it.
“I know that there were reasons in the past to want to send it back with specific areas of reductions. In this one, I just do not know where I could send it back with a no,” Wagner said
Councilman Keith Hartzell joked it was a “historical moment” Wagner approved the budget.
“For Mr. Wagner to recognize this is important to me,” Hartzell said. “He’s always held the administration’s feet to the fire and there were areas he was right about.... It is a lean budget.”