Town’s $117M Budget Introduced

Photo by Micromedia Publications

  BRICK – Mayor Lisa Crate presented the 2024 municipal budget during a recent Township Council Meeting, one that she said “is the culmination of months of hard work by the township’s financial team as well as the result of many years of instilling a philosophy of fiscal responsibility.”

  The $117 million budget has a slight increase of 1.9 per cent over last year, which equates to an annual increase of slightly more than $98 per year for a median home in Brick Township, the mayor said.

  “This budget also reflects the cost that comes with exceptional services and programs that I am deeply proud of, serving all residents from the very young to our active aging seniors,” she said.

  The mayor said the township’s public safety needs are always a priority, and the administration is committed to funding a full roster in the Police Department, special police and dispatchers, of which there are more than there has ever been.

  “Part of our commitment to them is the equipment and facilities they need to function efficiently,” she added.

The new EMS home on Aurora Place shares the building with the senior center. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  On that note, the mayor said that within the coming weeks, the grand opening of the new EMS home on Aurora Place will be held, and within the next few months, a second grand opening will be held for a Special Operations Building, currently under construction behind Town Hall.

  “This new facility will serve both EMS and our Police Department, giving both of them the space and support they need to be prepared and ready to serve our residents, no matter when the call or need,” Mayor Crate said.

  In the upcoming year, the administration will be working with the Board of Fire Commissioners to develop plans for a public safety building on the barrier island, which will house the Fire Department, EMS and police, including the summer crossing guards, and will be manned 24/7 all year long, she said.

  The proposed spending plan also funds Senior Services, the Department of Public Works (DPW), the maintenance of township parks, recreational facilities, the beaches, community events (such as the Farmer’s Market, Summerfest, the Trader’s Cove Concert series), and other services, she said.

  The township would continue to fund equipment needed by the DPW and in 2024 will develop a master plan for the Ridge Road facility.

  The new facility will ensure that the DPW employees have room and the most updated equipment to do their jobs, and will include space for the building and grounds crew as well as the construction of a vehicle wash station (a state-mandated service) for which the township currently has to contract out, Mayor Crate said.

The Special Operations Building is under construction behind Town Hall. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  The Building Department issued close to 5,000 building permits in 2023, which doesn’t include engineering and zoning permits. The mayor said the department works hard to turn around permit applications after a thorough review.

  Brick is the only municipality in Ocean County to be awarded a $5 million Climate Solutions grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to be used for marshland restoration.

  The grant is part of an $8 million project that includes dredging throughout Brick and using the dredge spoils for marshland restoration, which will be “a tremendous step forward in addressing persisting flooding in low-lying areas of Brick Township,” she said.

  A 2024 groundbreaking for the renovation of Mallard Point Park is planned, as well as refurbishment of the safety surface at Frede Park.

  The mayor noted that in 2014, the township’s debt stood at $168 million, after a decade that saw the debt grow by $86 million. Last year, that debt was paid down by $3.7 million, reducing the debt to about $125 million, representing an overall reduction of 25 per cent.

  A public hearing on the budget will be held during the April 23 Council Meeting, during which there will be public comment.