Budget Carries Average $105 Annual Tax Increase

Council votes on spending plan after a delay due to absences

After delaying a vote last meeting as three council members were absent, a full council agreed tonight to raise taxes in Toms River and approve the 2011 budget.

Toms River taxpayers will pay 2.8 cents more per $100 of assessed property, with a total $0.63 municipal tax rate. The increased taxes proposed equate to an average of $105.09 more in tax payments for the year, or $8.76 per month, according to township Adminstrator Paul Shives.

Shives asked for an amendment to the budget as introduced in April, after recalculating the cost of gasoline. That added $230,000 for the expense of gasoline. The total budget for gasoline is now up to $1.48 million.  

Shives said the increase for gas is still a small portion of the total budget. Increases since last year's budget included $1.25 million in blizzard costs, and increased pension funding.

Previously, Shives said the overall size of budget is 1.9 percent more than last year. Salaries are down $100,000 from the 2010 budget. Overriding objective of this budget, Shives said, was to maintain the current level of service.

Shives said the budget includes the use of six furlough days for the Teamsters Union, 12 furlough days for the so-called white collar union.

Other factors Shives said is impacting the budget: decreased valuations of property, with the overall assessed valuation has decreased by $615 million to $16.95 billion. State pension costs are growing 27 percent to $1.3 million.

Mayor Thomas Kelaher said previously that beating back an even larger increase to taxes were cost-saving measures such as another round of furloughs, renegotiated contracts for township employees.

"We managed to stay well under the mandated 2 percent cap," Kelaher said previously. Townships were mandated not to increases taxes more than 2 percent. 

Martin June 15, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Give Keleher the Brush-off in November! A new mayor with a mandate to CUT will take a fresh look and root out all the waste in the budget that was built up over the years of one-party rule. It's time for change in TR.
Martin June 15, 2011 at 03:51 PM
We can help ourselves, Adria. Vote in November.
MIC June 15, 2011 at 04:00 PM
All of the homeowners in the place of toms river have been calling, they siad this sprinf they would get to it, well its summer now! The safety hazzards alone on are road should warrent it to be repaired! So if called and getting blown off is going to work, ill call twice a week instead of once a week
Missy on Onyx June 15, 2011 at 04:05 PM
@MIC we had street cleaning at one time? We are our own street cleaners LOL.
cindy June 15, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Another point in any community is at one time the town of Toms River was a small quaint town. After it turned into a major city and after trying to accomodate 4-5 times the amount of traffic it was intended for and the new costs of new schools, more teachers, (no offense) and police force to accomodate the influx of mega people moving here, hence new improved roads and forget about the old roads, just ignore them, they'll go away right? We can go on and on but the point is stop building above our means. It's simple, if there is no room at the Inn you need to find another Inn. This is very typical when dealing with "Greed", more, more, more and now we are too fat to fit in our clothes. Stop making everything bigger! The Beauty of the Jersey Shore has left the building.
Billabong June 15, 2011 at 06:22 PM
"If you want the same you pay more, if you want to pay the same you get less. That is in all things in life as relates to taxes at least." Nope, I'm not buying it. Your statement is true regarding how too many towns in this state are run. It is not true that it is the way they should be run. If I'm paying too much for my wireless, cable, garbage, etc., I shop around and in many cases I can get the same or better quality for less. In other cases I can live with lesser quality in order to save money. Why are taxes in NJ so high - it's certainly not because we have the "most" services and benefits provided by our government. Maybe it has something to do with the backroom deals, no-bid contracts, and glut of government workers. You know what else our high taxes get us? The second least "free" state in the nation. Check out this report: http://mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011
Frank June 15, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Perhaps the first to go should be Mr. Shives if he really provided the following information: “Other factors” Shives said “is impacting the budget: decreased valuations of property, with the overall assessed valuation has decreased from $615 million to $16.95 billion." How did you go from as assessed valuation of 615 million down to 16.95 billion, Come on Patch...there are three more zeros in billion. (I wish you'd watch your punctuation, Patch. Sometime commas are a good thing.) Toms River is going down the toilet with the current Mayor and Council that we have. We have a Mayor who has never been anything but act as a bag boy for the party...and how I'd love to see his Marine Discharge. And a Council President running for Assembly who doesn't have to worry about taxes going up since he doesn't pay them. The media has run a Democratic candidate for Freeholder in to the ground over her finances but not a word on the Republican candidate for assembly who thinks taxes are for the common people not lawyers like him. The Township is using furloughs of employees who can likely least afford it supposedly “beating back an even larger increase to taxes.” The Township could save a lot of money by furloughing its most useless employees, Kelaher, McGuckin and the rest of the useless bums on the Township Council.
Mr. ? June 15, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Just curious...how many of you were at at Council meeting budget hearings?...and if so, spoke your mind. Better yet, how many of you would read a budget, ask questions, and give solutions? We all know of the waste in government. An efficiency expert would likely jump. While I am not happy either, did any of you digest the article? Snow removal, the 27% pension (out of control) increase, and especially the lose in the total property values. As the article stated, that alone was a reason for the increase. Maybe you would like those pension obligations deferred til later? Now that would work! And,any of you vote yes on the 3.6% tax increase in the TR school budget? I know none of you spoke up there! Only two resident taxpayers did "comma" so don't complain!
cindy June 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Who cares, Do you really believe that attending such a circus is helpful, you may need to loosen your tie as well sir. Do you really think these "Politicians" don't know what to do????? No matter what the increase, whether it be gas, electric, food prices, sport activities, or whatever even snow removal, when the price goes up, I must, and so does everyone else decide which is most important to our family and which can temporarily go for now. The office of Mayor is not "Rocket Science" and because people do or do not attend meetings is irrelevant! They should be glad a lot of us can't or don't. It doesn't mean we aren't entitled to an opinion. That's too bad you think like that. The candidates are voted for because we think they basically stand for the same ideals we do. All the meetings in the world, in front of cameras isn't going to change that. They start out with lots of friends and end up with Tons. That my friend, is called POLITICS and they suck and all the meetings in the world isn't going to change it...As far as snow removal, buy more salt it's cheaper and have the post office deliver a bag each year to us residents, we did just fine before the plows were invented.
BN June 16, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Get off your high horse already! Some people have to work, while just others don't have transportation or have other responsibilities that hinder their ability to attend.
BN June 16, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Replace one horses ass with another?
George M. Lobman June 16, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Frank I rest my case!! when someone can compare Michelle to any of the people who have run a campaign in Toms River and won elections it purely political fodder! When this women who has ran for so many years and cannot count the change from her WalMart trip can be suggested as a real candidate for office by someone they are outragously out of touch or a raving liberal. This town has had a level tax rate for over 30 years and has enjoyed some of the best municipal programs in the country. Everything has a price and not all politicians are theives. Because someone is a lawyer doesn't always make him a bum. And just because people decide to place their free time in service of the public doesn't make them useless. If even one crime or accusation can be leveled against one of the council people sitting open up and share it with us. I haven't seen one Democrate speak about cutting one dime from any budget in 30 years. Thats how we got here contracts that are rolling over and increasing every day, just like Social Security, Medicare and now Obamacare! Lets cut them back and save the next generation a few dimes instead of spending their money now.
George M. Lobman June 16, 2011 at 12:57 AM
Not a high horse if you didn't take part and are now sitting back and snipping! Don't complain do something. Vote them out, speak about tax cuts, write letters to this outlet or newspapers! DO SOMETHING
George M. Lobman June 16, 2011 at 01:00 AM
A clear case of hardening of the vains here! never was satisfied and never will be. Always easier to sit back and throw bombs then get involved. Always easier to take cheep shots then to have a meaningful discussion. Typical Lib all about complaining and crying but never about cutting one thing!
Mr. ? June 16, 2011 at 01:13 AM
A government ( is ) of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth ( Abraham Lincoln)... but only if its citizenry serves (participates in) its government. When a public government meeting is filled, they, the politicians will listen. They have to if they want to be elected. I will agree with your statement that politics "sucks" and is a root cause of much of our problems. I will also agree that you have a right to your opinion...everybody has one. Maybe if you attended those meetings you could be better informed. And M'am, I do not wear a tie. "And because people do or do not attend meetings is irrelevant" You are most definitely incorrect.
Pat S. June 16, 2011 at 01:31 AM
More taxes to keep the current level of services? Decreased valuation of property? Has ANYONE of the powers- that- be in Toms River ever set foot on the barrier island that they oversee? Our services are minimal (that's being kind) and our taxes are outrageous for the size of the lots here. We are not all waterfront property! Almost $14,000 a year for a 60x80 foot lot?!? Get your heads out of the (very expensive) sand!!!
Mr. ? June 16, 2011 at 01:49 AM
"Another point in any community ........ After it turned into a major city and after trying to accomodate 4-5 times the amount of traffic it was intended for and the new costs of new schools, more teachers, (no offense) and police force to accomodate the influx of mega people moving here" More citizens, equal more taxpayers, equal a need for more services. Actually, the population of Toms River has decreased from 97 plus thousand to 92 thousand as per our recent census. Live in a small population town and see what you taxes would be! Toms River, as by state comparisons, has a very low tax "rate". I just hope that statement holds true in the future. And thank you Mr. Lobman, for being a sense of reason here! I will dispute one of your statements, though. "This town has had a level tax rate for over 30 years" In the past nine years our taxes have gone up 99%. I would need your definition of "level" and know you used the word "rate. That term can be somewhat deceiving. By an average home price, by comparison, our taxes are low
Joseph E. Haelig June 16, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Paul Brush had a golden opportunity to stem the flow of systemic corruption in Toms River the last time he was mayor. But, he did nothing but exasperate the problem. What makes you think this time will be any different? If it is up to me, Paul Brush will never hold elected office again!
Catherine Galioto (Editor) June 16, 2011 at 06:00 AM
Frank, that should be "decreased by" not "decreased from".
skizma June 16, 2011 at 10:47 AM
Well, where is it that we get to vote on this budget? We are sent vote on the school budgets, but not this??? The children are fed to the wolves, but not the gutless council's and various other budgets we never see, hear of or VOTE on. Let us vote on these.....Would be well worthwhile.....this may not happen. It's the politicians who wield all the power. Period. Then leave, and when they leave, it's over. Nothing can be done except blame the next guy. And, pass the expenses along to everyone. Let us VOTE on these budgets, and surely taxes and expenditures would be kept more tightly. Can't imagine many yes votes would be gathered.
George M. Lobman June 16, 2011 at 10:52 AM
If I could not afford to live in a specific community I would move to another. The taxes are what they are. To think that you should live cheaper than anyone else because of the size of the property is just silly. You bought where you baught. You choose to live on the barrier and it does have its benifits. But you choose to live with those benifits and costs. I live on the main land and pay as much if not more for my services and cannot look out into the ocean or sit in the sand all summer. Just sayen!
George M. Lobman June 16, 2011 at 10:57 AM
You'r Absolutely right it is the rate that was level. You cannot blame the market on the politicians! Is it better to have a higher rate and lower value or lower rate and higher value. Doesn't matter much when one thinks of the value as a burdon. When a 350K house went to 800K I do not remember anyone complaining about the increased values. The tax rate does apply to value so it did have another effect. And if tax increase was a burdon then some did as I know many did, sell and build something better or more reasonable for their needs. Usually in a much further distance from Toms River though!! Thanks Mr. ?
George M. Lobman June 16, 2011 at 11:05 AM
I don't remember the numbers exactly on who voted in the last two elections in Toms River but the turnout in my voting place in the last primary did not even disturb the sleeping person in the corner. I would not be surprised to see that that number was less the 20 % turnout. The same 200 people will always vote at every election and still have no reasonable effect on the outcome. It takes a majority to make the changes. As a pension holder from State Government I am pleased to see Christie and the reasonable heads of the Democratic Party get together and move legislation to control the sliding value of my pension. Without this change we would have lost the pension and maybe the medical coverages. After 34 years in service I am willing to negotiate something that will protect what I have earned and what will now be there for the next generation of State workers. Working in Government is no different that private industry in many ways. We all have the screw-ups and lazy ones but it is the publically funded ones that look worse. Good to see something cut instead of something increased for a change. Sorry for the extra comments.
Billabong June 16, 2011 at 07:04 PM
George, it's an overly simplistic view of things to say that if you couldn't afford to live in a specific community you would move to another. I know people whose houses have been on the market for years. It's not that easy to just pick up and move in this housing market. People who want to sell can't, and meanwhile gas, taxes, and the cost of living continues to skyrocket. A buddy of mine was smart - he got out of NJ about 7 years ago and now he has a house twice the size of mine with half the mortgage and taxes. Of course he doesn't have the Jersey shore (which I also have to pay to use).
cindy June 16, 2011 at 08:43 PM
I don't believe it is a case of "Hardening of the Veins," but we need to stop chasing our tails here. It doesn't matter which side is elected a Dem. or Rep. the same issues exist so forget that for a moment and sorry if I offended you with the tie remark but come on, we really do know what to do don't we? How do millions of Dems and Reps. seem to muddle through. They eventually have to cut back not spend, so I may be ill-informed about every second of those meetings, which by the way, I have attended and what a shame, but hardening of the veins I think not. One thing is all and any overtime should be really looked at.. That is a start and a pity for any community to be forced to pay such a thing. Emergency situations happen each day so plan on it and not react to it every day. Hire a few part-timers, cheaper in the longrun and added flexibility. Offer residents "perks" if you will, for bringing their own recycle to the centers and perhaps we can get sections to take turns and make it a community effort, thus saving township costs. We need to be more creative and put our heads together on an ongoing issue that has plagued the Country let alone towns.
Pat S. June 16, 2011 at 09:17 PM
George, I was here long before the property values became artificially inflated. Where did I say that I expect to live cheaper than anyone else in Toms River Township? All I ask is that we get services equal to the rest of the township. In fire and/or medical emergency situations, we can't always depend on TR to provide vital services; we are at the mercy of whomever is available on the island. Kindly explain how it is that you could be paying more for services than we are. And FYI, I have better things to do than to sit in the sand all day long. Just sayen!
George M. Lobman June 17, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Cindy; I agree there are a million way to skin a ... but think of the limitations in being able or encouraged to do so. The unions in the areas where we discuss putting costs savings efforst to work would jump thru the window because we are taking work from their representatives. Additionally any part time workers would be fought also since it would do the same. It all comes down to the fight between Unions and non-unions and how we merge the two parties to work together. Realistically it could not be done previously. Maybe now with the new sunlight being placed on Union agreements and their costs together with the universal understanding that along with every contract comes a long time committment financially, we can do something. The unions are in my opinion redundent. Every municipal and State worker falls under Civil Service overseight and that does provide a protection of workers in unfair treatment. We cannot all afford the best avenue but we can cut back to what we can.
George M. Lobman June 17, 2011 at 12:27 PM
No offense intended. Just suggesting living in that part of town has it's benifit as well as it's detractions. The distance to and from the mainland is a big problem for emergency travel. It is very difficult to get to the beach on just average days without an emergeny reason. Efforst at supplying base stations in the Barriers has been attempted many times over the years and there has never been a good answer to better coverage. In the old days the teachers from schools on the mainland used to suppliment as police and fire representative all summer long giving them additional income and more coverage. That is not possible now with the litigous nature of society and the number of un-busy lawyers around. Love the Barriers and their view but not the congestion or the problems in living there.
Pat S. June 17, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Glad that you understand my concerns. It is wonderful here, except when the summer invasion begins. But it is all part of living in a resort area.
Rontr July 19, 2011 at 04:05 AM
Governor awarded toms river a increase of 4 millions dollars in school aid today , heard town officials have find ways to spend the money or be nice and lower property taxes with extra money that was not allocated in the this years budget


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