By Jacqueline Durett
SOUTH AMBOY—For the second year in a row, home owners in South Amboy will see a penny increase on their taxes, resulting in an annual increase of $26.60 on the average assessed house of $270,103.79.
The $17.4 million 2017 budget was introduced on April 11 and unanimously approved.
“I think that it shows a very efficiently-run working government in South Amboy,” Mayor Fred Henry said. “We work within our means. The last couple of years have been, I believe, excellent budgets.”
If the budget remains as is and is approved by both the state and the council, the tax rate per $100 assessed value would rise from $1.168 to $1.178.
Henry thanked Business Administrator Camille Tooker and Chief Financial Officer Angel Albanese for their work on the budget.
“[The budget] does show that this government in South Amboy is working in the best interest in the citizens of South Amboy,” he said.
Henry said the city has about $660,000 in surplus, whereas last year the city had about $1.5 million in reserve.
Henry had already focused on many of the budget highlights during his State of the City Address on March 29. In his speech, he pointed to ways the net worth of the city continues to grow, including through the progress on residential developments in the city. The city’s value currently stands at about $882 million, he said.
The city also recently purchased four new police vehicles and has spent more than $1 million on new radios for first responders, he said. South Amboy now uses the Middlesex County system for radios, and also has the county doing its fire inspections.
“By working with [the county], it will enable us to be partners in the grants they receive for new and updated equipment,” he said, citing the example of the new water rescue apparatus.
Henry also said the city is in the process of purchasing a new street sweeper and a garbage truck. New signage in the city also has been installed, and all of the parks and the Allie Clark Sports Complex are in the process of upgrades. The tennis courts on Sixth Street recently were resurfaced.
In the address, Henry said the city has benefitted from grant programs, particularly in regards to infrastructure improvements. The city has received a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for paving Bordentown Avenue, and next year, the city plans to pave and replace curbs and walkways through a $300,000 grant from the DOT.
Grants, he said, were also used to upgrade the pumping stations on Feltus and Raritan streets. Emergency generators, he said, also will be installed there soon.
Henry said responsible budgeting has enabled the city to produce surplus, increase its net worth, spend tax dollars wisely “and continue to create avenues to make South Amboy an even better place to live and raise a family.”
A public hearing on the budget will be held May 17.