MONMOUTH COUNTY – The 2018 proposed budget for the County will be discussed during the next Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting on March 8.
The 2018 budget was introduced on Feb. 8, 2018 by the Board. In their presentation, the freeholders noted that the 2018 budget intends to “Maintain or improve the level of County Services for the citizens of Monmouth County, minimize tax impact and comply with all statutory budget cap requirements, continue to implement a long term financial plan for County Government and protect the County’s long standing “AAA” bond rating, (and) identify potential areas for operational efficiencies and/or additional cost savings for 2018 and 2019.”
The presentation also broke down the following year into a concise Budget Timeline that incorporated the different stages of budget review from the summer of 2017, to the fall of 2017, to the winter of 2017 into 2018.
“We have worked hard over the last eight years to greatly reduce the County’s budget and keep taxes flat while maintaining the high quality of life and number of services for our residents,” stated Freeholder Director Tom Arnone in a newsletter.
For 2018, the proposed budget is $449,450,000. This is a $4.2 million increase from the 2017 adopted budget of $445,250,000. Of that total, $305,500,000 will be raised by taxation, which represents 67.97 percent of the total budget.
The amount raised by taxation is expected to increase by 1 percent, from $302,475,000 in 2017. Despite this increase, the freeholders’ presentation noted that the County is still $2,619,136.92 below the state-mandated tax levy cap.
Of the total appropriations, $349,215,486.66 will be for the total operations. Total operations include salaries and wages in the amount of $170,157,110.04 and other expenses in the amount of $179,058,376.62.
The total cost of operations has increased $1,972,161.66 from the 2017 adopted budget, most of which is due to salary and wage increases. The cost of operation expenses outside of salary and wages has decreased from 2017 to 2018. Salary and wage amounts have increased by $2,453,356.38.
The amount for total appropriations also includes amounts designated for capital improvements, debt service, and deferred charges and statutory expenditures. The amount of $3,550,000 is allotted for capital improvements; $59,059,513.34 for debt service; and $37,625,000 for deferred charges and statutory expenditures.
“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,” said Arnone, in the newsletter. “I can personally assure our residents that I, along with my colleagues and administration, will continue to review the draft budget and find ways to keep costs down.”
The budget will be reviewed at the next freeholder meeting on March 8, held in the Hall of Records, 1 East Main St., Freehold.