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No municipal tax increase for Linwood property owners
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No municipal tax increase for Linwood property owners

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LINWOOD — There will be no municipal property tax increase for Linwood residents this year.

City Council introduced its $13,047,214 municipal budget for 2021 during its March 24 meeting. The total budget is down $676,387 from 2020 and reflects a tax rate of .929 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The budget slightly decreases the debt tax rate for 2021 to .039, down from .043 last year.

Councilman Matt Levinson presented the budget and explained that the spending plan, while down overall, increases the operating budget for the municipality to $4,036,326, up from $3,942,030. Levinson said increases in statutory costs, which include pensions, are up $62,204, buildings and grounds costs are up $52,000 and group health insurance is up $62,588.

Tax appeals and the decline in ratables continue to hit taxpayers in the wallet, Levinson said. The city’s net valuation is $930,606,100, down $192,300 from last year due to tax appeals. The city had 71 successful appeals in 2020, resulting in $4,484,400 in lost ratables and $159,465 in lost tax revenue.

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Mayor Darren Matik said he is hopeful residential tax appeals will decrease significantly, citing the upward trend of local real estate values thus far this year.

The tax collection rate was at its highest in several years at 98.76%.

Police salary and wages are expected to be $2,031,884 for the year, up $16,102 over 2020. The police operating budget decreased this year by $16,349, dropping from $147,399 in 2020 to $131,050 for 2021. The public works operating budget remained static from 2020 at $175,000. Public works salary and wages increased by $11,444, going from $444,337 in 2020 to $455,781 for this year. The Fire Department’s operating budget remained the same as 2020’s at $80,500. Salary and wages increased over last year, going from $365,898 to $377,292.

The city’s capital budget is $75,000, down drastically from $4,778,000 in 2020. Many capital projects, such as street repaving and sewer replacement, were completed in 2020. The city continues to see significant savings through shared services, such as dispatch, municipal court and EMS services.

Levinson said the municipal tax bill represents just 26% of the local taxes property owners pay each year. Schools represent the largest share of the tax bill pie, with Mainland Regional High School taking 21%, Linwood schools 36% and Linwood school debt 1%. The Atlantic County portion of the tax bill is 13%, and residents pay 1% of their tax bill to support operations and programming at the Linwood Library.

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