Curley votes no. Offers no cuts and defends rejecting $800K savings from State program. Continues to soak taxpayers for health insurance
The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders adopted a $448 million budget on Monday, March 19. The final budget is $1,450,000 (.03%) lower than originally proposed last month and $2,750,000 (.06%) higher than the County’s 2017 budget.
Property taxpayers will see the County’s portion of the tax bill raise by $1.50 to $25.00 for the year as the tax levy increases by $1,525,000 (.05%) over 2017. The budget as originally proposed last month included a tax levy increase of $3,024,750. The 2018 County tax levy is $304 million. Read the rest of this entry »
Freeholder Director Tom Arnone speaks at the NJTPA Board Meeting – Jan 22, 2018
I hope everyone is doing well! Despite the Groundhog’s prediction, we are only a few weeks away from the start of spring and warmer weather.
I would like to briefly discuss the budget my colleagues and I on the Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced during our meeting on February 8th.
As it currently stands, County taxes would increase by only 1 percent. However, I cannot stress enough that this budget is still a working draft with the opportunity, rather the goal, to make additional cuts to keep the tax levy as flat as possible. If the budget stayed the same and was adopted as-is, this would be the first slight tax increase in seven years while continuing to keep the great services and infrastructure improvements throughout the County.
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders have introduced a budget for 2017 that is $24.6 million lower than the 2016 budget and $11.8 million lower than 2006 spending.
The $445,250,000.00 spending plan will be the subject of public hearings on Thursday, March 9 at the Freeholders’ meeting to be held at the Monmouth County Library on Symmes Drive in Manalapan and on Thursday March 23 at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch at 1001 Rt. 35 North in Shrewsbury. Both meetings are scheduled for 5 p.m.
The County’s property tax levy is budgeted to be $302,475,000, the same amount it has been for 6 of the last 7 years.
When I ran for Freeholder in 2011, I ran on the promise that I would spend every day in office working for the taxpayers of Monmouth County. Three years later, Monmouth County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders has just delivered its fourth straight budget with no change to the property tax levy. Four straight years.
This wasn’t simply chance and luck had nothing to do with it. I fought hard and committed to making tough cuts in order to meet our commitment to Monmouth County taxpayers—to provide the high level of services our residents are accustomed to while employing the utmost fiscal prudence.
In 2010, the Monmouth County budget peaked at $493,400,000. Since then, this Freeholder Board has reduced the budget to the tune of $12.5 million in total savings over the last four years. And this is to say nothing of the $60+ million in spending that was cut over the same time period as a result of the budget work that happens all year long behind the scenes.
It’s not without its challenges. The budget process requires a delicate balance. After all, a low budget and no tax increase mean nothing if taxpayers then suffer due to declining and diminished services. The County still has to provide the services that our residents need – that’s its mandate. But it’s the mandate of the Board of Chosen Freeholders to make sure we’re providing that top-notch service in the most efficient and effective way possible.
For the fourth straight year in a row The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has had a 0% tax increase. I am pleased that I have been able to be a part of this budget especially in the hard economic times we are faced with. It has been and always will be a priority of mine as well as the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders to continue this trend of savings to our Monmouth County residents.
Additionally, The Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to report we have collected over $1 Million (Actual is $1,022,976.56) in revenues at this early stage in the year from our 911 communications shared service. This amount is based on revenue received from 21 towns. This is a vast increase from prior years where the invoice and revenue collection process typically began in April. This year, the Freeholders in conjunction with the Sheriff through the Office of Shared Services began the process at a much earlier date. The result has been beneficial to all parties as the county has earlier use of funds to help offset our expenses which allows for efficient budgeting for the county as well as for our municipalities. The Board of Chosen Freeholders is extremely pleased with these figures and anticipates the numbers to continue to increase as we receive revenue from the remaining municipalities. The revenue the County receives that is generated through shared services offers relief to the municipalities that translates to lower costs for the services being performed.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and at the last meeting of The Board of Chosen Freeholders a Proclamation was presented to Dr. David Abbott, Superintendent of Schools, for The Shore Center for Students with Autism located in Tinton Falls,. The Proclamation was presented to commemorate Autism Awareness Month in hopes of raising awareness of Autism.
For the fourth straight year, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a county budget with no tax increase.
At their meeting April 10 meeting the Freeholder Board, comprised of 5 Republicans, adopted $480.9 million budget, a $100,000 spending reduction from last year’s budget. The amount raised through property taxes is $302,475,000, the same amount raised every year since 2010.
“It is a challenge every year to try to cut spending without impacting the level of services our taxpayers have come to expect,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “This process is not something that is done in haste. This budget reflects the months of work that has gotten us to a flat tax rate for the fourth year in a row.”
“This year, an internal budget subcommittee met with each department to look for duplicative services and identify areas for consolidation and savings,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., liaison to the Finance Department. “This process has yielded savings in the areas of information technology, finance, human resources, building maintenance and legal services.”
Monmouth County relies less on taxes than most other New Jersey counties. As a percentage of the overall budget, Monmouth County’s taxes comprise 62 percent of the total budget, historically behind Union, Hudson and Essex counties.
“The department heads deserve a lot of credit for their hard work in paring down the budget,” said Rich. “This is the fifth year in which we asked for concessions from the departments and, as a result, this is the fourth year in which the tax levy has remained the same.”
By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone
As I enter the third year of my first term as a Monmouth County Freeholder, I would like to share the following information regarding the county budget. The 2013 budget plan as presented today totals 481 million which is 6.35 million lower than last year’s adopted budget, and has a flat tax levy for the third year in a row. This spending plan is $12,400,000.00 lower than the spending plan adopted in early 2010, which is where the budget peaked prior to the reduction in the budget over each of the last 3 years.
The 6.35 million dollar reduction was accomplished by utilizing additional fund balance, anticipated greater levels of revenues that performed well in 2012, a reduction in total salaries based on reduced payroll expenditures, reduction of capital which will lower new debt authorization, reduction in health benefits due to new legislation, as well as, improved benefits management with the new provider, and a reduction in utility expense due to energy efficiency improvements. All of these items closed the gap to balance the budget, as well as, offset some additional revenue losses that were not expected originally when the budget process started. These include Medicaid cuts for the Care Centers, reductions in Division of Social Services revenue, reductions in Federal Inmates and a loss of trust fund revenue due to Super Storm Sandy. As the liaison and a strong supporter of shared services, I am extremely happy to report that Shared Services has been a huge success for Monmouth County. As promised we used revenue from Shared Services to offset tax increases. Shared Services generated revenue in excess of $3.6 million which also went a long way in balancing the budget.
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.
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.