Toms River's 2.8-cent Tax Increase Due In Part To Influx of Tax Appeals

Toms River held budget hearing, outlines revenue and spending

The 2012 municipal budget is one of trying to manage mandated increases against stagnant state aid and the multi-million dollar impact of tax appeals, officials said at the annual budget hearing last night.

Although Toms River Township Administrator Paul Shives said the directive from Mayor Thomas Kelaher was to keep services level, nevertheless, Toms River's tax payers will be paying more in taxes this year.

Toms River's tax rate would increase 2.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, resulting in about $79 more annually in tax payment.

| Check out our previous stories on the Toms River 2012 budget |

In previous years the Toms River budget was impacted by lost or level state aid, a mandated 2 percent cap, and rising pension costs. This year, Shives said, an enormous number of successful were added to the equation.

The amount of assessed value in Toms River went down, resulting in less tax revenue. Tax appeals that have decreased Toms River's assessed value by $780 million in the past 2 years, officials said. Shives said the township had to reimburse taxpayers more than $2.3 million.

Shives said whole neighborhoods will be reassessed because of the large number of successful appeals, and several hundred tax appeals are outstanding, which will further result in impact to the budget's tax revenue.

At the budget hearing last night, while approximately 30 residents and township officials attended, three residents asked about the budget. They questioned the tax appeal calculation, and asked about salary impact.

Shives said that for many residents who've underwent the tax appeals process, with a drop in property values those taxpayers would actually be paying a tax bill that's less than previous.

"This is the impact we're seeing," Shives said.

The tax levy is increasing mainly to cover the impact of tax appeals, officials said. Shives outlined a number of policies in place to keep spending in check.

The largest portion of the spending plan is salaries and benefits.

More than 40 percent of the salaries pays for public safety and public works positions, Shives said — positions for police officers and garbage collection. "This makes up 40 percent of the budget, as it should be," Shives said.

However, the police force is operating with fewer officers than normal due to a high number of retirements the past two years. The township has not filled all the vacancies created from the retirements, and the 2012 budget plans to fill only some of the police department vacancies, Shives said.

The business administrator added that the township managed to keep its spending on salaries level. This was due in part to renegotiating union contracts, and attrition as personnel retired or left. Furloughs are again in place for 2012.

"Absolutely there are contracts we have to honor, but thanks to the bargaining units and renegotiating the contracts, they are flat," Shives said. "The effect of that is huge...I don't know of any other town in Ocean County that is doing that."

Shives said he asked every department to look at its budget and slash spending.

"Line items are cut 10 percent," Shives said. "That means spending is at 2009 levels, because we froze spending at 2010."

While the Capital Improvement Fund is $400,000 less, the projects that dominate this year's spending are "absolutely necessary" bulkheading, street resurfacing and drainage improvements, Shives said.

"We can never really appropriate enough funds to resurfacing and draining but we do the best we can," Shives said.

The council emphasized that the budget and tax levy is seeing minimal growth.

"It's less than six percent over 2010 to 2012," Councilman George Whittman said. "I don't know where else you can find that."

Three residents who questioned the budget at the hearing asked if more transparency and less taxpayer impact with lower spending was possible.

Council members said spending is flat while still taking care of necessary projects.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget at its next meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 8 in town hall.

The budget presentation and proposed budget is available on the township website, and is attached to this article as a .pdf file.

Martin May 02, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Lines items were cut by 10% ??? Then why are the TR politicians proudly presenting for 2012 "...a proposed $100,681,043.31 spending plan that is 1.65% larger than the 2011 budget..." ??? That's an increase, not a cut. ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS!
Edward Hotel May 02, 2012 at 05:58 PM
No one cares, they collect their fat pay and benefits and we pay for lavish retirement benefits and they continue to raise taxes. You need to go in and do an across the board cut of 20% no excuses or exceptions. As soon as you mention a cut, you get the same old tired stories of closing the libraries and layoffs to police. Stop the madness ..
ray May 02, 2012 at 07:20 PM
No matter how you look at it, the real problem is these people spend too much, and waste more. Toms River is a disaster downtown and the new prison is a disgrace. Not to mention the bulges in politicians pockets.
Chief Wahoo May 02, 2012 at 10:33 PM
The largest portion of the spending plan is salaries and benefits. This is why you are being taxed out of your houses, which of course will just lower the property values even more, which will bring more and larger tax appeals. rinse and repeat.......DEATH SPIRAL !
Sol Grouchy May 02, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Really, I live in this town and I work for this town. I do not have lavish retirement benefits. I have had to take days without pay for the last few years, and also had my property taxes raised. I know first hand that this town is receiving better services, more efficient services than ever before. The township has done a number of things to make life here better and still people just complain for the sake of complaining. You cannot get something for nothing, if you want it all you should be prepared to have to pay for it. But please stop pointing fingers at the public employees who do the best they can to make this town a good place to live and work.
Kenny May 02, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Salaries and benefits for the Township Of Toms River Republican Club friends and family hires.
Chief Wahoo May 02, 2012 at 11:09 PM
really Sol, where in TR is there a good place to work (not counting public employees of course)
Seth Jansen May 03, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Please there are township employee's that make six figures and also collect public pension's, and have other government jobs. This town is crony city and it's disgusting to those that are not connected to the Mayor and Council.
George May 03, 2012 at 11:30 AM
It's the POLITICIANS most of us are pointing fingers at... They're not affected by the slow economy somehow... still living high, and accruing taxpayer-funded pensions... appointing their cronies to "jobs" while holding twp. employees' wages flat... clueless about TR's rising property taxes and declining infrastructure... the Republican royalty rules in TR!
Martin May 03, 2012 at 11:40 AM
...and still building their multi-million-dollar pet projects... charging the costs to bond issues that we'll be paying next year (and for decades to come). That's a great strategy, councilmen: "Charge it" to get one over on voters in November, then TAX & SPEND next year as usual! "Stop the madness" of this "death spiral" in Toms River.
Greg May 03, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Did anyone notice that they seem to recycle council people through MVC? Just go to the Toms River MVC office to see just what I am talking about!
Sol Grouchy May 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Im not connected to mayor or council, just regular guy who had got a job with the town and kept the job with hard work and good work ethic. There are jobs in TR, some people need to stop thinking that jobs are beneath them. If you want to work, really want to work, there is work out there. Stop blaming others for everything you feel is wrong. But if you feel that strongly about it, make the changes you feel are needed, but then again that will take a lot of work. Are you up for it, then someone will complain about how YOU do it. Just saying......
Mr. ? May 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Take the spending levels back to 2009. OK, and do the math. Look at the department line items, salaries and wages. Then calculate the budget increases and you will have a spending number percentage increase. Yes, you will find department decreases by 10%, unpaid furlough days, split raises, and......but not enough to offset increases in benefits and health care costs and the declining ratable base. And you are right, the bonding is accumulative effect, but debt service must remain within an allowable maximum percentage of the budget total. Also remember you will find much more spending in the savings of employee reductions through attrition. When those fixes run out with a bottom line of employees to continue services and additions of revenue streams from shared services ( they now become part of the fixed budget base ) ...with no more "fixes" we will be in trouble! Hows about zero base budgeting! And yes Sol, I agree most of the employess of TR, the real grunts of this town work hard. Since you dont abuse the double and triple dipping benefits abuse, you are not part of the problem...and then there is / are, the "others"
Mr. ? May 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM
......and now that's the cumulative effect that is putting us under. Just reason the increases in unfunded pensions, health care costs, vaca and sick day payouts and abuses of benefits packages - political endowments, and there you have it! And the cause? POLITICIANS!!!! BOOOOOO!
H.HEMMES May 03, 2012 at 04:50 PM
If tax appeals have lowered taxes for the people who complained (squeaky wheel gets...) why can't all of our taxes be lowered or at least stay the same?
Robert Bressman May 03, 2012 at 08:59 PM
how about $500,00 in salaries to those cronies who work at the ice rink? schubiger has 3 paid jobs, Rec director should be enough, is there that many hours in the day, his Secretary gets over $50,000 and great benefits. The towns sponsors a hockey team because Sevastakis wants to be a GM of a hockey team, Code enforcement gets over $100,000. and I have to call him to tell there is a problem, they just sit behind a desk and hope for the best, Sol is this what we should be prepared to pay for? I don't know what you do, maybe you're a hard worker , but from what i see we're paying for a lot of dead weight and when they leave we'll be paying a lot more. If you're in the Union, you should kick the Executive Board out of office, you're taking days off and giving give backs meanwhile the rest of the good old boys are still filling their pockets.
Susan Green May 03, 2012 at 10:36 PM
excuses excuses would not have an issue if you were not ripping us off in the first place doing s re eval at the ht of the market sorry I am Winner in a tax appeal 401,000 to 295,000 I encourage everyone to do it .
Nana Keru May 03, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Not talking about normal jobs in town. The leadership jobs are all cronies of the Mayor and Council. The Dept heads are all Toms River Rep club buddies. The DMV, what's the big deal. Councilwomen Maruca is there now running it, before her was Councilman Kubiel, before him Councilman Delluca. What did you expect?
Can't shut me up May 04, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Pink Claws, Cricket Field, Sprinkle Park, Golf Course improvements, New fencing in Shelter Cove fields, Indoors Tennis Club state of the art dog shelter(did I miss anything)....All STUPID expenatures that we THE TAXPAYERS should've been allowed to vote for. I did my tax appeal. 321K to 262K....Happy....I'll do it against next year. Along with the senior tax freeze..... LOL
Can't shut me up May 04, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Check out the Toms River MUA....That's where all the GOP has-been go at 6 figures.
1stcav May 04, 2012 at 12:43 PM
This has been going on for years ( 25-30 ) and yet YOU keep voting in this SAME crowd, who's the stupid ones ? You then expect different results , it's the same OLD Republicans" good OLD boys club" !!! You want change, this TIME do it in the elections & vote them the heck OUT !!!! GRIP and then Grip again, until YOU get the proper representation ! A Sheriff in his 80's is up for re-election, are you voting him in yet again ??? Give me a break, when did he LAST qualify last on the firing range ??? Probably in the 1940's......LMAO @ the same old same old ....It's now up to you, the balls in your court ...
Tom F. May 04, 2012 at 01:00 PM
The Toms River election will not really matter this year. There was a chance last November, but the D team got smashed.
Miriam May 05, 2012 at 05:26 PM
The jokes you hear on TV and in movies about bad drivers, sadly enough is not a joke, but a solid understatement. When driving anywhere in New Jersey, you are guaranteed to see your life flash before your eyes many times. Just before death, your subconscious alerts you that you are about to die in New Jersey, ending your life flash, and making you pull off a near miracle just to stay alive a little longer. By doing this, you can feel the added stress to your mind and body, cause you to lose at least 5 years off your life. When it comes to driving in New Jersey, you will have a better outcome if you take a fully loaded six shooter, and fire it point blank into your skull repeatedly, for then you no longer are teasing death, but welcoming it. The people are horrid, pathetic, and subhuman. When God cast the demons out of heaven, they became the people New Jersey. As true hell on Earth, the people are so unfriendly, culturally/morally backwards, so full of anger and hate that just being around them makes you feel like even the God of love hates you now. Once upon a time, all land in America once flourished, until the people that make up New Jersey arrived and turned a part of this Golden New world into something so atrocious!New Jersey has obviously declared itself an enemy of mankind.Accepting New Jersey is like accepting Cancer. Act not on your hate for New Jersey, but on your good values and higher brain functions to keep our society moving forward by facing the truth!
Can't shut me up May 05, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Dolly ans Mike May 05, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Wow. Guess you never been to the bowels of Alabama, Missippipi, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Detroit etc. Benn there and those spots make NJ look like heaven. I lived in Cape May and the Mountains of Hunterton County for years. Not sure where you live my guess in Newark?
Can't shut me up May 06, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Would you rather the DemocRATS get in? Look at Monmouth county. My mothers house in Manalapan 8.5K in taxes, smaller home then mine/same size property and I'm paying 4K and have way more (tremendously more) in the way of services. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Be careful what you wish for!!!
Can't shut me up May 06, 2012 at 12:32 AM
By her posts, I'm guessing those crappy apartments near the new Shop Rite on 166, Toms River....With the rest of the illegals and gang members. She's angry because she didn't get the freebees Obama promised.
Miriam May 30, 2012 at 07:23 PM
What does the new shop rite on rt 166 have to do with me,or my point?And you should rephrase crappy apartments near there to a huge disgrace of apartment"s" scattered abroad T.R. And I don't even support Obama.lol Drunk,or not the Number of N.J. fatal traffic accidents increased in 2011 do the research.We're about to move We'll be sure to set off fireworks when we do!It's corrupt to the core, most who are politically connected ride off their free breaks,but karma has a way of ushering in justice.I won't be here to see it, and since I'm leaving I can now confess. I came to this town for ethnography work.There has been enough documentation presented that sheds light on the corrupt!Anyone that doesn't see the issues are part of the problem.Most here think they're savvy,but wouldn't last a second outside their sheltered world,hence the reason they stay here.How you can comment on something you didn't research shows your ignorance,so please stop guessing/assuming.Newark? Someone writes?Fact NUMBER 1 It's not Newark,or Trenton with high drug trafficking it's Ocean County.Lawyers doing drugs don't get charged because their like.I'm still friends with one lawyers X GF who had to run from him cause he was so abusive, but the homeless get left for dead?The highest government corruption/cancer rate across the country is NJ.There are very "FEW" honest officers,judges left in this county,but you're gonna try and tell me what you know? You have no clue what you write about.
So Much to Say May 30, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Collection of (data) people jewelery through their window.....BYE BYE....
Miriam May 30, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I have no clue what you think you're replying about, and I'm "certain" you have no clue.Please, stop drinking the tap water.


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