For the last three years, the tax levy remained steady at $21,640,721. This year’s tax levy is $21,965,332, an increase of 1.5 percent. The tax rate increase is .2903, and the annual increase on the average Ocean City home assessed at $500,000 is $14.51.
An additional .3579 percent in debt service raises the annual increase to $17.90, with a monthly increase of $1.61.
Salaries and benefits for district employees make up 77 percent of the budget, Teachers receive annual increases of 1.99 percent.
The tax levy increase was to be higher before the school district received an extra $414,580 in state aid over last year’s number, for a total of $3,766,449. That allowed the general tax levy to be adjusted to 1.5 percent, before debt service.
Part of the state aid included $5,000 for a new wrestling mat for the intermediate school. Earlier in the meeting, Greg Young presented a $5,000 donation to the district from the Ocean City Junior Wrestling Club for an additional $5,000. The district needed $10,000 for a new mat.
The district was also able to limit the tax levy increase because it entered into the School Choice Aid Program. The district will receive $2,682,050, up from last year’s $2,294,950. According to School District Business Administrator Pat Yacovelli, the absence of the funds from the program would mean the district would have to raise the tax levy all the way to the allowable 2 percent, but the district would still face a budget shortfall of $2,249,176.
The total General Fund is $40,908,874, with expenditures for
capital projects totaling $2,385,607. That includes $1,756,667 for the Primary
School Renovations Project.
In March, voters approved the school’s request for $2,497,421.47 to help fund school improvements in a special election. The district also has a grant for $2,399,279 to help fund the $6,653,368 in improvements.
The school district approved its budget nearly a week after city council unanimously passed a $69,861,684.60 budget that includes a 2.57 percent tax levy increase.
Details on the Cape May County budget can be found here.