Monmouth County freeholders adopt $449.6M budget for 2019

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

The budget was adopted during a meeting on March 18 in Freehold Borough. Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone, Deputy Director Patrick Impreveduto, Freeholder Lillian Burry and Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger voted to adopt the budget. Freeholder Sue Kiley was absent.

The freeholders said the 2019 budget includes an overall decrease in department expenditures, a reduction in healthcare costs and capital infrastructure investments and a $2.2 million increase in pension costs.

“We have kept our quality of life and our services,” Arnone said. “There is creative budgeting with anticipated revenues and we see that on the state level. We treat our budget as our home and we live within our means. We spend what we make.”

Arnone said the freeholders have sought to develop a budget each year that ends a reliance on funds taken from surplus, which is essentially the county’s savings account.

“We are getting pounded and pounded from the state as we try to work with our partner municipalities,” he said.

Burry said, “In recent years, the county has reduced employment through attrition and that is starting to show (in the budget). … (And) we have not sacrificed services.”

She pointed to the county’s ongoing priorities to preserve and maintain 17,000 acres of parkland, operate a popular library system and maintain 1,000 lane miles of roads.

Monmouth County’s 2018 budget totaled $447.95 million. Residential and commercial property owners in the county paid $304 million in taxes to support the budget.

The 2019 budget totals $449.6 million; an increase of $1.65 million from last year. Residential and commercial property owners will pay $305.5 million to support the budget.

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 determined. 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 maintenance for 1,000 lane miles of roads, more than 900 bridges, 17,000 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.