The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced a budget on Thursday that reduces County spending by $18.2 million and reduces the property tax levy on County residents and businesses by $4.5 million. The tax decrease is the first in 21 years and maybe ever, according to County Finance Director Craig Marshall.
The budget for the next fiscal year rolls County taxes back to 2008 levels and reduces spending to less than the 2007 budget. The tax cut reverses an increase, the only one since 2007, that the County imposed in the current year.
“This is a real cut,” said Freeholder Director Tom Arnone. “There is no fiscal gimmickry or raiding of trust funds or utility balances in this budget.”
“This reduction in the tax levy is just another example of the Freeholders putting our residents first and why Monmouth is the best place to live, work and raise your family,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso.
Since 2008, the all Republican Freeholder Board has reversed a trend of increasing spending by approximately $20 million per year. The average spending increase since 2008 was .03% and the County government employee count has been reduce by about 1/3, over 1000 employees, through attrition. The Republicans continue made good on their commitment to improve efficiency while improving the quality of services and maintaining their AAA bond rating.
In addition to the spending decrease, the Freeholder Board is replenishing the surplus fund balance which was depleted by $12.9 since 2013.
The good budget news is attributable to the Freeholder’s decision last year to sell the County nursing homes, which were a $6 million drag on the budget and a $405,0000 reduction in fixed costs like pensions, insurance and servicing the AAA rated debt.