Hurricane Sandy-Stricken Shore Towns Avoid Big Tax Hikes - For Now

One of the many fears created by last year's Superstorm Sandy was that it would cause so much property damage in coastal towns of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut that they would have to impose huge tax increases on surviving structures to make up the difference. But thanks largely to the more than $60 billion in Sandy relief approved by Congress those tax hikes haven't been necessary.

"We were all concerned there would be a big tax increase," said Ray Ryan, a resident of Mantoloking, New Jersey, where virtually every home was destroyed or damaged. "But we are delighted it didn't. It makes absolutely wonderful sense when you consider the storm aid that was available."

The affluent borough actually adopted a 14.6 percent increase in its municipal tax rate. But because of the influx of storm recovery money and the lowering of property values due to the storm, most tax bills will end up being lower this year.

"That's the good news: Taxes in 2013 will be lower," said Councilman Steve Gillingham.

Things could be different next year, however, when the tide of storm aid recedes. As Gillingham noted, "because these are nonrecurring revenues, it may be hard in subsequent years to provide the same level of services." (ASSOCIATED PRESS, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER)

— Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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