As its 2012 budget was introduced, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders emphasized it is collecting no more in taxes than it did last year, $302,475,000.
“At the end of the day, the county is collecting the same amount of money (in taxes as last year),” said Craig R. Marshall, the county’s chief financial officer, speaking before the freeholders introduced the $487.4 million budget Thursday.
However, the poor economy had its impact on the county’s ratables, or taxable property, which depreciated by about $5 billion, to $116.1 billion. This ratable decline, despite the stable tax levy, translates to a higher tax rate — projected at 26.06 cents per $100 of true-market value, compared to last year’s 25.17 cents.
That means a property selling this year at the same price as last year faces a 3.5 percent higher county tax bill.
A property selling for $500,000 in both 2011 and 2012, for example, would pay $1,303 in county taxes, or about $44 more than last year.
County officials stressed that individual properties could have gone up in value, stayed the same, or decreased in value. County Tax Administrator Matthew S. Clark told the freeholders that beachfront properties may have increased in value, while inland properties might have decreased, for example.
In turn, property owners could pay more in county taxes this year, the same amount as last year, or less, depending on how a property fared, according to county officials.
Municipalities assess property, so local taxes are based on tax rates per $100 of assessed value. For county budgets, the assessed valuations of the county’s 53 municipalities have to be “equalized” into true-market, or fair-market, values — that is, what a property would realistically sell for.
Since 2009, when they totaled $129 billion, county ratables have steadily decreased to $116.1 billion this year.
County budgets, too, have gone down in recent years: $493.4 million in 2010, $491.5 million in 2011, and proposed at $487.35 million this year.
The full budget figure, along with its operating expenses portion of $434,429,262, is $500,000 less than figures released earlier in the week.
The freeholders could vote on adopting the budget as early as March 22, when a public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Middletown Municipal Building.
Marshall is to give two budget presentations prior to that day: 7 p.m. Wednesday at county Library Headquarters in Manalapan and 7 p.m. March 1 at the library’s Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury.
Joe Sapia: 732-308-7754