Municipal budget amended at meeting

shamong

The Shamong Township Committee held the public hearing for the 2015 municipal budget last week.

The budget was amended, so the committee is required to have another hearing before it is officially passed.

“We approved but may need one more final approval,” Deputy Mayor Sean Gray said.

The committee had added $75,000 for the shared service agreement with the Southampton building code office and $196,000 for the state DOT grant on Forked neck Road.

In the previous committee meeting, a resolution that was discussed in detail was the repairing of roads that been hit hard this winter. However, the funding the township usually receives from the state to do so has been cut down immensely over the past few years.

The state government is doing this as part of a “payment in lieu of taxes” program.

Shamong is one of many New Jersey towns to get a cut in PILOT funding under the Christie administration, giving it the two options of either raising taxes or reducing services.

“There are not a lot of means to collect revenue in a small town like this other than raising taxes,” Township Administrator Sue Onorato said.

In recent years, the state has gone from funding $500,000 to about $125,000.

“It is a burden on local municipalities. Losing almost a half million dollars in state aid is significant when your budget is only $3 million,” Onorato said.

In other news:

• The rabies clinic took place on April 25. There were three reported cases of rabies, all in raccoons.

• The five properties bordering the well on Grassy Lake Road that was reported to contain mercury all tested negative and are clear of mercury.

• The basketball courts at Dingletown Complex were successfully paved.

• The additional hearing of the budget will be held at the Municipal Building on May 26.