Stafford Introduces $48.2 Million Budget

Plus: Dog Fights, Fiberglass Whale, Speeding Crackdown on Lighthouse Drive
By VICTORIA FORD | Apr 24, 2019
Mayor Greg Myhre

Manahawkin — The Stafford Township mayor and council have introduced this year’s proposed $48.2 million budget, which will be adopted at the May 21 meeting after a public hearing.

Township Administrator Matthew von der Hayden said general appropriations within cap account for $36.6 million, plus $9 million in appropriations excluded from cap, and $2.4 million in reserve for uncollected taxes (based on an estimated collection rate of 97.5 percent).

The total general operations are $48,207,774.49, less the anticipated revenues aside from current property tax revenue of $10,588,241.92, von der Hayden said. The local tax to be collected for municipal purposes totals $37,619,532.57.

In 2018, the municipal purposes tax rate was 0.888, von der Hayden explained. As introduced in the 2019 budget, the rate is 0.894 – an 0.6-cent increase, from 88.8 cents to 89.4 cents per $100 of valuation.

While the 2019 budget is relatively flat compared to last year, the 2018 budget had gone up $3 million from 2017 for a few specific reasons, including an anticipated repayment installment of $600,000 on a community disaster loan. Because that payment was never made, von der Hayden explained, the schedule for repayment has changed from five years to four, making this year’s installment with interest $853,609.94. The capital plan is funded at $400,000, which includes the purchase of an automated trash truck, as the trucks are on a schedule for replacement.

In his report on recent police activity, Mayor Greg Myhre mentioned the town’s total value of stolen property in March was $107,616 and only $4,039 worth of goods has been recovered.

In light of Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, Councilman Michael Pfancook reported an increasing number of complaints of dog owners not cleaning up after their dogs and allowing dogs to run off-leash at Nautilus Park. Unleashed dogs caused a recent brawl involving five dogs. As a result, officers will patrol the park more heavily and issue summonses when violations are spotted.

A bit of good news for Beach Haven West residents: The Jennifer Drive bay beach will be getting new playground equipment installed by Memorial Day, Pfancook announced. Public Works Superintendent George Yockachonis found some leftover money to purchase a fiberglass whale. A swing set wasn’t feasible, Pfancook said.

In an update on enforcement efforts to keep motorists’ speed down on Lighthouse Drive in Ocean Acres, Councilman George Williams said Police Chief Dellane is “taking it pretty seriously, and he’s gonna crack down on it pretty good.”

In other news, Myhre announced Hackensack Meridian Health’s Bear’s Den Innovation Hub program has come to Southern Ocean Medical Center. He described it as “essentially a designated room in the hospital that allows them to collaborate with other facilities within the hospital system.” The program encourages 34,000 employees of Meridian’s 17 facilities to bring forward their best ideas to enhance care delivery and improve patient satisfaction.

All are welcome to contribute ideas, from top surgeons to entry-level staff. Myhre called it “a good thing for our town, and for healthcare in general.”

Dedicated team members know best how to innovate from their valuable frontline experience, according to Meridian CEO Robert Garrett. Through its $25 million fund, Bear’s Den has supported two major innovations to date: a home health robot named Pillo and a new disinfection technology called PurpleSun, to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

Launched in 2017, Bear’s Den features a panel of experts, leading physicians, key network executives, venture capitalists and patent attorneys who consider proposals. “The health network’s novel incubator has vetted many products and strategies to streamline care delivery, reduce infections, lower hospital readmissions and help patients partner in their care with physicians,” according to the Health U newsletter.

— Victoria Ford

victoria@thesandpaper.net

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