By Will Morey and Jeff Pierson, Freeholders
Cape May County residents deserve leaders that are responsible managers of taxpayer funds.
When it comes to measuring impact on taxpayers, there is no better way than to look at tax rate. Tax rate takes into account residents, second homeowners, and commercial properties, all contributors to county and local taxes. Fact is, Cape May County has the lowest tax rate in the state and has been in the lowest tier for many years. This means you pay less in property taxes in Cape May County than you would on a home of similar value in almost any other county in New Jersey. That’s great for residents and really good for attracting investment to our County.
It often helps to hear it from an independent source, and when it comes to judging the County’s financial stability, Moody’s Investor Service is one such source. An international agency that is considered as one of the “big three” credit rating agencies, Moody’s has assigned Cape May County a MIG 1 rating for short-term credit quality – this is the highest possible rating – and an Aa1 for a stable, long-term credit, the second highest possible rating.
This means Cape May County is viewed by experts as a stable, reliable entity. Listed under “Credit Strengths,” reasons for Moody’s strong rating include that the County has a “large tax base and low debt burden” as well as “significant liquidity” – meaning we have good cash reserves. Analysts note that, while the County’s economy is dependent upon tourism, our efforts to diversify are paying off in the form of technology businesses at the County Airport. Moody’s takes this diversification into account, and it helps the County’s credit rating. Moody’s reflects a stable outlook, citing the County’s “conservative budgeting practices and diversification efforts will lead to continued financial and economic strength.”
Importantly, our credit rating matters to you because it means we pay a lower rate when the County borrows to do large projects; the savings are passed on to you in your property tax bills. This is one way of showing the responsible and careful approach the Freeholder board takes with taxpayer funds.
This sensible and responsible approach to budgeting enables the County to invest in its infrastructure and a variety of tangible, physical improvements. For example, since 2017 we’ve been able to devote $3.5 million per year to prepare for full implementation of our Comprehensive Bridge Plan, all within the low rate referenced above.
A strong cash and reserves position, conservative budgeting, low debt, and a top-notch bond rating: this is the County’s financial picture and one that enables the County to invest diligently in its infrastructure. So, while we are committed to be responsive to the needs and desires of residents in terms of providing excellent services, it’s clear that we also keep a very careful eye on how the County’s funds are managed; all this to work toward a bright and stable future for us all.
Ordered and paid for by Morey and Pierson for Freeholder, 943 Central Ave, Ocean City 08226.