STONE HARBOR, NJ, April 6, 2021

Statement from the Stone Harbor Property Owners Association (SHPOA) on the revised Stone Harbor 2021 budget

In light of the discussions over the past several months, SHPOA recognizes the efforts of the Mayor and members of Council in the 2021 budget process. The work that has taken place reflects the challenges that Stone Harbor faces both now and in the future as we tackle the challenges of the investments in island sustainability that will be needed to protect our homes. The reduction in the municipal tax rate reflected in the current budget draft from 30.5 cents to 29.1 cents is welcome, although an increase of over 8% from the 2020 tax rate is still significant, especially compared to tax increases in neighboring communities.

The reduction was achieved by a decrease in budgeted spending of $678,000, with $400,000 from reduced funding for beach and bay management and $278,000 from reduced spending. SHPOA has and will continue to support robust funding for beach and bay management which will be required in 2021, 2022, and 2023 to maintain our beaches and bay in usable condition. This reduction in 2021 funding will result in higher borrowing when expenditures are required, ultimately leading to higher taxation to repay the borrowings.

SHPOA recommends that Borough leadership continue to aggressively address the cost of services provided in future budgets. Our survey of membership was clear in the expectation that Borough leadership should explore all alternatives to provide Borough services in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

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