In these tough economic times, some south Jersey towns are exploring other ways to reduce their bottom line and save taxpayer dollars.

Atlantic County towns located near the AC Expressway are looking at leasing public land near the highway to billboard companies.

The topic was discussed at a meeting with the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which owns the Expressway.

Egg Harbor Township Mayor James McCullough says they want to erect a billboard on a piece of land near the police athletic league. “Its a good spot that shouldn’t obstruct views or be a problem for residents.”

McCullough says at an average of $100,000 per billboard, its another form of revenue that can lower property taxes.

“We are always looking at ways to help taxpayers and this is another way of bringing in new revenue into the municipality.”

He says although the recession is over, towns are still reeling for a lack of income. “People don’t realize that towns collect income for their budgets, but they do…with permits and housing growth and commercial growth that increases the rateable base but that is drying up in New Jersey and across the country.”

Hamilton Township, Hammonton and Pleasantville all own land near the Expressway as well and are considering similar ideas.

The plans are still in the early phase, but McCullough hopes by early spring they will be able to lease the land and have a billboard in place.