MAYOR’S BUDGET IN BRICK CUTS PROPERTY TAXES AND REDUCES SPENDING

Mayor John G. Ducey is presenting his 2017 spending plan and preliminary revenue projections to the Township Council on February 21. This year’s spending plan is $4,451,617 less than 2016 and calls for a reduction of ½ cent on the municipal tax rate.

“This year’s budget is the culmination of four years of strong fiscal management and responsible fiscal policies,” said Mayor Ducey. “We have created a culture of fiscal responsibility in town hall that has enabled us to slow the growth of municipal spending, reduce the township’s debt, stabilize the tax rate, rebuild the township’s surplus and make the financial health of Brick Township stronger than it has been in many years.”

Municipal spending in 2017 is expected to be $100,337,745. Over the past four years, the budget has grown 1.9%. In the previous four-year periods, the municipal budget increased 28% (2010-2013), 19% (2006-2009), 27% (2002 – 2005) and 24% (1998-2001). The average 4-year increase from 1990-2013 was 21.8%.

The current spending and revenue plans call for a municipal tax rate of 68.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. This is a decrease of ½ cent and will result in a reduction of $14.71 in municipal taxes for a home with an average assessment of $294,100.

Superstorm Sandy continues to impact the township’s budget. This year’s spending plan includes $1,484,000 in special emergency principal pay off for Sandy, equal to 1.44 cents on the tax rate. This is the township’s final payment for this cost. While the township’s ratable base increased by $18.66 million this year, it is still $341.7 million less than pre-Sandy levels.

The 2017 Budget includes $13,493,521 in debt service payments. The Township’s net debt as of January 1, 2017 is $151,310,134. The Township of Brick’s debt on January 1, 2014 when Mayor Ducey began his term was $168,335,337. At the end of this year, Mayor Ducey’s net debt reduction plan will have succeeded in reducing the township’s debt by $18,293,203.

“One of my top fiscal priorities was to reduce the township’s debt. Debt had ballooned from $82 million in 2004 to $168 million by the end of 2013. We knew that reducing the township’s debt was necessary if we wanted to restore Brick Township’s fiscal health,” said Mayor Ducey. “We were able to do this while still continuing to address the needs of our community and fund important infrastructure projects.”

The current revenue plan utilizes $10,928,024 from surplus. This leaves the township with a surplus balance of $10,955,587, the highest dollar amount since at least 1993. The balance represents 10.92% of the budget, the highest amount since 1994.

“The surplus is essentially the township’s savings account. Having a healthy surplus available is a sign of fiscal responsibility and strength,” said Mayor Ducey. “There were several years where the township had less than $100,000 remaining in surplus, which put us in a very precarious position financially speaking. I am proud that we have been able to correct this.”

From 2008 – 2010, the Township maintained an average surplus balance of $59,681. Over Mayor Ducey’s four budgets, the Township has maintained an average surplus balance of $8,596,987, the highest four-year average in the township’s history.

The township’s debt reduction and healthy surplus has led to an Aa2 rating from Moody’s Investors Services and an upgrade from an AA- to an AA rating from Standard and Poor’s. These ratings are used to inform investors about the township’s creditworthiness. These are among the highest ratings these services offer and tell investors that the township is a high-quality, low-risk investment. This can result in lower borrowing costs for the township.

Mayor Ducey credits the Council and the municipal staff for their efforts to improve Brick Township’s financial standing. “When I took the oath of Mayor, I made bringing fiscal discipline one of my goals. That would not have been possible without the Council and staff buying in to that mindset and everyone working together to achieve that goal. I am grateful for their work and proud of what we have done and we will continue to work to make Brick Township a better, safer and more affordable community.”

TOWNSHIP WINS SHOWCASE AWARD FOR RECREATION GUIDE

Mayor John G. Ducey was on hand to accept the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association’s Agency Showcase Award for the Brick Township Recreation Department’s 2016-2017 Program Guide last night in Atlantic City. The Award was given at the Association’s Annual Conference.

“The Brick Recreation Department is one of, if not the, finest in the State. Every year, we work to put together a guide that is informative and a representative of our Recreation Department’s great work and our commitment to recreation,” said Mayor Ducey. “This award shows that we were successful in doing just that.”

Every year, the Township publishes a comprehensive guide to all of the Recreation Department’s programs, events and activities. It is an important resource for residents who wish to learn what is available to them and how to participate.

The 2016-2017 Program Guide was a collaborative effort between the Recreation Department and the Township Public Information Office. The Recreation Department compiles all the information and the layout and design is done by the Information Office. The Township’s Public Information Officer, Ed Moroney, worked with Recreation Director Dan Santaniello and Business Administrator Joanne Bergin to develop the theme of the guide.

“I want to congratulate everyone involved in the Recreation Department Program Guide for winning the award. We have a great team in Brick Township and this award is testament to their hard work,” said Mayor Ducey. “I also want to thank the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association for recognizing their work.”

As the layout and design was done in-house, the only cost to the Township was for printing and delivery of the guide. That cost was $3,968 for 12,000 copies. The Township reached out to the local business community to seek sponsorships to offset the cost of printing the guide and was successful in securing $3,400 in sponsorships. The net cost to the township for the guide was $568 – less than 5 cents per printed guide.

The guide was printed and delivered by Evergreen Printing of Bellmawr, NJ.

The Public Information Office and the Recreation Department are currently working on the 2017-2018 Program Guide which will be available in April.

The New Jersey Recreation and Park Association (NJRPA) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of all New Jersey residents by supporting outstanding park, recreation, and natural resources management programs.  Since 1928, the efforts initiated by NJRPA and its membership have resulted in tangible benefits for communities throughout the state.

5 Reasons to Shop at a Farmers’ Market

 

 

 

Farmers’ markets offer in season produce with the best nutritional qualities.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are filled with healthy antioxidants and phytonutrients.  Check out what vegetables and fruits are in season in your area for the best tastes.

 

 

 

Supporting farmers and artisans in your area helps them to continue to produce their goods. You can have a direct impact on keeping farmlands alive and prosperous.  Help your local farmers to keep growing by giving them your support.

 

 

 

Markets also offer an opportunity for the community to prosper.  Help your community’s economy by purchasing goods direct from its local source at farmers’ markets.   Many farmers’ markets accept SNAP and WIC benefits.

 

 

 

Farmers’ markets offer a great experience for kids to learn about the foods they are eating.  Get them involved in how food is grown and then turned into their favorite dishes.  Learn what foods are grown in your area. Let your kids pick out something new and exciting for them to try!

 

 

Why not try out some different vegetables and fruits?

Farmers’ markets provide a great source of lesser known produce that you can incorporate into your meals.  Growers can also offer great ideas for new recipes that incorporate their goods.  Be daring and pick up something different on your next visit!

6 Steps to Mastering the Farmer’s Market

 

 

 

Research all of your local farmers’ markets in order to find the best deals.  If there are multiple market places in your area, try them all out!  Farmers’ markets generally run from the spring to the fall.  Make sure to become accustomed with their unique hours of operation so you don’t miss out.

 

 

 

Become familiar with the farmers and artisans selling at your local market.

Typically, sellers at markets are the same individuals who grow the produce.

Getting to know farmers personally can help build a long lasting relationship and get you better deals.

 

 

Farmers are more likely to barter with you for their goods.  Try offering them something other than cash. Barter with your own unique products.   You may even be able to trade with your own skills such as plumbing or design.  Farmers appreciate individuals who have skills as well.  Try to strike a bargain with them as well!

 

 

 

Be willing to try new fruits and vegetables at your farmers’ market.  Lesser known products are often much cheaper than your typical produce.  Be adventurous and add new foods to your meals.

 

 

 

Chat with your farmers!  Don’t forget to compliment them on all of their hard work.  If you loved last week’s cilantro, let them know.  Everybody loves to be appreciated and chatting about food can lead to personal relationships with growers.  If you find your way into a farmer’s heart you may walk away with a better deal on their produce.

 

 

 

Purchase produce when it is in its peak season. Many growers will have a surplus of fruits and vegetables that you can buy in bulk and keep for future use.  Buying in bulk can save you money on seasonal food that you may not be able to purchase during the rest of the year.  Try canning, drying, or freezing produce for use during its off season!