The Monmouth County Freeholders did more than fight over Andrew Lucas’ farm last week before voting to approve their portion of the $1.152 million purchase of his development rights.
By a unanimous 5-0 vote the all Republican board introduced a 2013 budget that reduces county spending by $6.3 million. The amount to be raised by property taxes will remain at the 2010 level. Spending is budgeted to be below 2008 levels.
“We continue to face the pressures of increased fixed costs and reduced revenues, but were able to reduce the total budget below 2008 levels and maintain a zero increase to the tax levy,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “As has been the case for the past several years, county departments were asked to cut their budget allocation proportionately to help this board reduce the impact on the taxpayers.”
The budget appropriates $481 million in spending. $302,475,000 will be raised from property taxes. The remaining $178.525 million comes from federal and state funds, shared services agreements, and fees.
Freeholder Gary Rich noted that the county has reduced its workforce by 15% since 2008.
While the freeholders introduced a budget that reduces spending and keeps the tax levy flat, they also passed a resolution that allows them to increase the tax levy by 3.5%.
The county budget is tentatively scheduled for adoption at 7 p.m. March 28, following a public hearing. The freeholders will make a PowerPoint presentation on the budget March 5 at the Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library, Route 35, Shrewsbury and at 7 p.m. March 19 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters on Symmes Drive, Manalapan. The public is invited to attend and offer comments.