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Ocean Gate’s Budget Could Serve As Model For NJ

While towns all across the Garden State continue to struggle to make their budget’s work, the small community of Ocean Gate is doing more with less.

Ocean Gate
Ocean Gate (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

The town, known for its wind turbine, has introduced a spending plan that’s not only fiscally responsible, but it’s serving as a reminder that dissolving a small community into a larger one isn’t necessarily the best way to go.

Although the population of the borough is under 3,000 people, they are taking every single taxpayer into account when they crunch the numbers. Mayor Paul Kennedy takes this task very seriously. At last night’s council meeting, Kennedy introduced the $2,681,543 spending plan which is a decrease from last year’s over $3 million dollar budget. There are plenty of benefits for the residents including no tax increase, no cutbacks, no furloughs and no layoffs.

This year features many highlights in the budget including much needed improvements to the infrastructure. They include the installation of a sprinkler system for the municipal building and parts of Adrian Hall, some building work to the Hall, milling and paving around town, improving drainage at the Anglesea parking lot and privatizing cleaning and landscaping services.

Mayor Kennedy says “this is what I call great town government. Trenton should take a hard look at what has happened in Ocean Gate the past 7 years, from a town with $425,000.00 in deficit (2005) to over $540,000 surplus (2012) . I have worked very closely with our CFO Paulette Konopka to accomplish this. Credit to her very well deserved.”

Kennedy adds they took a proactive approach the moment they saw their state aid would be cut. This was going back years in fact. Kennedy says “since that time, we have not relied on the state funding.”

Kennedy is also against all proposals being kicked around in Trenton that would consolidate small towns with larger ones. He says “sharing services is one thing but it should be up to the community and municipality to decide – not the state.”



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