City Hall in Ocean CityCity Council adopted a 2014 municipal budget that calls for spending a total of $69,861,685 and raising $44,793,202 from local taxpayers (a 2.57 percent increase).The bottom line: The owner of a $500,000 home In Ocean City will see an increase of $73 in municipal taxes (an increase of $14.60 for every $100,000 of assessed value).That figure does not include school or county taxes. The Ocean City Board of Education will vote April 30 on a budget that calls for a 1.5 percent tax levy increase. The municipal budget and a small library tax accounted for about 50 percent of a property owner’s tax bill in 2013. The other half was divided evenly between county taxes and school taxes.The budget passed in a 5-2 vote with Councilman Scott Ping and Councilman Pete Guinosso dissenting.In the eighth and final budget vote of his two terms, Ping said he would not support the budget because he knew it could be better. He said he was frustrated that the city administration had never seriously considered an Ocean City Fire Department staffing proposal he believes could have saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Guinosso said he does not approve of the city’s efforts to improve various cost centers that operate at a loss (such as the Ocean City Aquatics and Fitness Center, Ocean City Pops and Ocean City Municipal Airport).Much of the debate Thursday centered on a proposal by Councilman Keith Hartzell to tap into $250,000 of the city’s record-high $5.8 million fund balance for taxpayer relief or to complete a couple road projects.Finance Director Frank Donato said the balance was high because of a number of one-time factors from 2013. He said a healthy balance is the most significant factor in determining low interest rates for the $10 million per year in borrowing Ocean City plans for the next five years.Hartzell’s proposal would have required City Council to re-advertise the budget and delay the final vote for two weeks, so in the end, he settled for a symbolic $86,000 addition to the city’s capital improvement fund. The vote to move the money passed in a 4-3 vote with Councilman Mike DeVlieger, Guinosso and Ping siding with Hartzell.As in recent years, the burden of tax increases will not be shared equally.The owner of a $500,000 home that was one of 4,500 that were reassessed by the city this year will pay less in taxes. On average, that home is reassessed at about $40,000 less, and the owner will see a decrease of more than $80 in municipal taxes. The rest of property owners will see a 3.78 percent tax increase as the tax rate climbs from 38.6 cents to 40 cents on every $100 of assessed value.With a three-year, in-house program to reassess 17,000 properties in Ocean City now complete, tax rates should begin to stabilize, according to Donato. After years where as many as 800 properties won tax appeals, only 55 did so this year, he said. Ocean City’s ratable base fell by about $135 million this year.On the expense side, Ocean City’s biggest budget item is salaries and wages for 256 full-time employees. Contractual increases led to a 2.2 percent increase to $28.6 million. A spike in claims in 2013 led to a 19 percent increase in employee health benefits to about $7 million.While Ocean City’s tax levy increases by 2.57 percent, the budget falls $305,000 under the state-mandated 2 percent cap because of various exceptions in the tax cap formula.See more detailed information on Ocean City’s 2014 municipal budget.
More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus19 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market19 hours ago“While the Queensland Government is prepared to go it alone in the funding of the Cross River Rail project, the Brisbane Metro is the Federal Government’s preferred public transport solution for the city, and the two-tier commitment will provide investors with significant funding.“As the population growth of our major cities aggravates congestion, lessening the time we commute to work will deliver tangible value to property owners.”The funding came at a time when some of the suburbs had seen “subdued growth”, he said, with Upper Mount Gravatt houses growing 2.5 per cent in the 12 months to January to $625,000 and Eight Mile Plains up 1.3 per cent growth to $780,000. The Brisbane City Council led infrastructure project will cost $300m.He said the funding “could be the catalyst for the areas to catch up with neighbouring suburbs including Mount Gravatt East (11.6 per cent growth to $658,000) and Mansfield ($676,250 for 7.3 per cent rise)”.Suburbs that were going backwards in terms of growth in the inner north were expected to see a jump, including Kelvin Grove where houses underperformed last year falling (-7 per cent) to $771,500 and Herston which went backwards (-4.7 per cent) to $820,000. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK [email protected] Realtors expect the infrastructure surge to be a growth catalyst for multiple suburbs.IF you live in these suburbs you may well have heard the ka-ching as Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced massive funding for Brisbane.Budget 2018 has locked in the Queensland capitals next boom suburbs, according to one of Australia’s major real estate agencies, with realtors expecting the $300m Brisbane Metro infrastructure project to be a windfall for homeowners.LJ Hooker head of research Mathew Tiller said the congestion-busting infrastructure project would “reinvigorate suburbs along the alignment” of the project with a rise in sales predicted along the inner north and south of the city.“This brings suburbs like Upper Mount Gravatt and Eight Mile Plains in the city’s south and Kelvin Grove and Herston in the north closer to the CBD through increased ‘show-up-and-go’ public transport services,” he said.
MELBOURNE: Australian limited-overs batsman D’Arcy Short is confident of shaking off the white-ball specialist tag and proving his worth against the red ball.”It was very enticing in terms of the opportunities that I could have got (in Tasmania),” he told cricket.com.au. Short turned down an offer to move to Tasmania, and instead decided that a first full pre-season at Western Australia would give him the best chance to prove himself as a red-ball player in his adopted home state. “But I felt like if I stayed here and put in a full pre-season, I can play all formats here as well. That was a challenge for me; I know I can do that here and this is where I want to try and do it. I love playing cricket in WA and that’s why I’m staying. “It was a combination of both (cricket and personal reasons). With all the cricket I play and being away so much, I felt like being home when I could is a good option. “I’m a bit of a homebody anyway, which doesn’t really help me in terms of the job. But if I can spend time at home, that’s what I want to do. That was one of the main reasons.” “I don’t think it’s an unfair view, it’s just what people have seen,” Short said on the tag of him being a white-ball specialist. “I definitely back myself in red-ball cricket as well. I just haven’t taken my opportunities as well as I could have or should have in the games that I’ve played. “The pressure of wanting to do well and keep my spot plays on my mind a bit as well. I know I can do it, it’s just about putting it together in a game. “I think I slowly proved that last year. Against NSW, I opened the batting against a Test attack and got fifty and batted for a fair amount of time (164 balls). “I got a fair bit of confidence out of that. It’s just about putting a big score on the board when I get a chance, said Short who has so far played eight ODIs and 20 T20s for Australia. IANS Also watch: Get Set Global: Travel Restrictions Creating Havoc For People In The UK