Monmouth County freeholders introduce $449 million budget for 2019

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has introduced a $449.6 million budget to fund the operation of the county during 2019.

The budget was introduced during a meeting on Feb. 19 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft.

During the presentation, Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone said officials have reviewed all of the services that are provided by the county and said, “our services have not gone down.”

Freeholder Lillian Burry referred to the county’s Aaa bond rating and said that excellent rating “is so important to how we function.” Burry commended Director of Finance Craig R. Marshall and his staff for their efforts to assure that Monmouth County maintains that bond rating.

The freeholders said the 2019 budget highlights include an overall decrease in department expenditures, a reduction in healthcare costs and capital infrastructure investments.

A public hearing regarding the budget, during which residents may comment on and ask questions about the spending plan, will be held at 5 p.m. March 18 at the Monmouth County Hall of Records, 1 E. Main St., Freehold Borough.

The 2018 Monmouth County budget totaled $447.95 million. The proposed 2019 budget that totals $449.6 million represents an increase of $1.65 million from last year.

In 2017, county property owners paid $302.47 million in taxes to support a budget of $445.25 million. In 2018, property owners paid $304 million in taxes to support a budget of $447.95 million.

In 2019, the freeholders have proposed collecting $305.5 million in property taxes to support a budget of $449.6 million. The increase in the tax levy from 2018 to 2019 is $1.5 million or 0.49 percent, according to a presentation provided by the county.

In addition to property taxes, revenues in the 2019 budget are projected to include $37 million from surplus funds (savings), $55.93 million in miscellaneous revenues and $19.07 million in state aid.

The 2018 county budget included $40 million from surplus funds, $52.23 million in miscellaneous revenues and $21.23 million in state aid.

The impact of the 2019 budget on a property owner’s tax bill will not be known until a county tax rate for each of the county’s 53 municipalities is struck in several months. The county taxes a property owner pays will be determined by the county tax rate for his municipality and the assessed value of his property.

County taxes are one item on a property owner’s overall tax bill, which also includes municipal taxes, school taxes and other assessments.

Monmouth County’s 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 more, according to a press release.

As of the 2016 Census estimate, Monmouth County’s population was 625,846.