(Atlantic) The Atlantic City Council held a work session Thursday night to review and discuss the cities Capital improvement plan. Currently the city is in Phase III of a street improvement project and in order for those improvements to continue the city must bond $2-million to fund those projects. Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones says they need to bond now while interest rates are low and they can hopefully get a better bid rate.
“In the last three years we have fixed streets, replaced streets, and in order to keep those streets in the same condition it costs money,” stated Jones. “So we are looking at how we can fund this project down the road in 2017, 2018, and 2019.”
Mayor Jones says another issue is maintaining those streets which will cost the city another $700-$900-thousand dollars a year for the next several years. So the question is how we pay for all of this. Number one is to raise city property taxes.
“Taxes are going to be raised a little bit, but they are still going to be in the same range for the next four or five years similar to what was paid in 2005 which was around $17.95 per thousand dollars of valuation. We should be in that same range or even a little lower.”
Another option includes changing the local option sales tax allocation resolution, which he personally is not in favor of unless it is an absolute necessity. And he adds there are ways to avoid that.
“Atlantic citizens can help reduce the tax burden by spending money locally and the more money spent in town the more it will help to offset those costs down the road,” stated Jones.
Mayor Jones says if the local option sales tax money doesn’t increase there could be a 10-15-percent cut in funding which could affect several programs that currently rely on that fund. Jones says if that happens, those agencies would have plenty of notice to adjust their budgets.
Under the current resolution, 40-percent of the local options sales tax is used to fund street improvement projects, 28-percent for industrial development, 25-percent for the Recreation Center Fund, and 7-percent is used for Community Promotion.
December 14, 2012