2017 Monmouth County budget meetings March 9 and 23

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders will host two 2017 budget presentations of Monmouth County’s $445 million dollar budget which is scheduled for adoption on March 23.  

The budget presentations will be part of the agenda at the Board’s next two meetings: 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters on Symmes Drive in Manalapan and at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 23 at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch at 1001 rt. 35 North in Shrewsbury.

“Our residents and businesses will again not see a tax increase from Monmouth County and they will have the level of programs and services remain consistent,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “The 2017 budget reduces the amount Monmouth County departments expect to spend by 5.24 percent and keeps the amount to be raised by taxation at the 2010 level.”

As introduced, the County’s 2017 spending plan is $445,250,000, down $24.6 million, or 5.24 percent, from the 2016 adopted budget amount of $469,850,000. The amount proposed to be collected as County taxes will remain at the 2016 level of $302,475,000.

“For six of the past seven years, the tax levy has been flat,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley. “We have introduced a budget that continues to hold the tax rate down as many residents continue to struggle to meet their daily household expenses. As our residents make tough budget decisions, the Freeholders and our departments must do so as well.”

Monmouth County’s tax levy has been $302,475,000 in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.

“Consistent cost cutting and belt tightening since 2010 along with the late 2015 sale of the County’s two care centers have made it possible for this Freeholder Board to present a budget that actually resets our spending to below the 2006 amount,” said Freeholder Gary J. Rich, Sr., liaison to the Finance Department.

Monmouth County’s adopted budget in 2006 was $457,032,323.

“Reducing spending without reducing the level of services to our taxpayers has been a challenge,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “As a Freeholder Board we are focused on the budgeting process and its impact to our taxpayers. County residents should also know that our Shared Services program helps both the County and the towns reduce spending. We can purchase commodities, like salt, in bulk quantities and pass the savings on to participating municipalities.”

The County annual budget covers the cost of providing for the maintenance of 1,000 lane miles of roads, more than 900 bridges, 16,000 acres of County parks, emergency management, 911 communications, law enforcement through the Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s offices, elections, deed recording and passport services in the County Clerk’s Office, probate and adoptions through the Surrogate’s Office and much, much more.

“One of the reasons the Freeholders are able to deliver a flat budget and deliver exemplary services is by working diligently to retain our AAA bond rating from Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso, Esq. “The County’s AAA bond rating continues to be one of the best perks offered to local governmental agencies. It is another way the County helps keep taxes low throughout the County, providing substantial savings to participants.” 

County Finance Director Craig R. Marshall explains that the County’s AAA bond rating from all three major bond-rating agencies, is a feat only a 45 counties nationwide have achieved. The financial strength of the County allows municipalities, school board and other government agencies to borrow money through the Monmouth County Improvement Authority at the lowest possible interest rate.

The budget plan continues the efforts of the Freeholder Board to reduce spending while dealing with mandated costs that continue to rise.

The County budget is tentatively scheduled for adoption following the official public hearing on March 23 at the Headquarters Library in Manalapan.