The Economy: Squeeze on a Small Town

BELFORD, N.J., a seacoast town 50 miles south of Manhattan, is little different from countless small communities across the U.S. It has quiet, tree-lined streets decked with frame houses. It also has crowded schools, potholed streets, erratic snow removal—and taxes that are climbing much faster than paychecks. Most of Belford's 8,500 residents are members of blue-collar families. The breadwinners tend to be electricians, welders and assembly-line workers. Because the town has practically no industry that can be taxed, Belford residents have to carry almost the entire load.

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