Prudent Fiscal Management & Strong Ratable Growth Offset Rising Costs
The cost of living is up, but the Morris County Board of County Commissioners was pleased tonight to introduce a 2023 Budget with no increase in the tax rate for the fourth consecutive year, thanks to prudent fiscal management and a growing ratable base.
“Without an increase in the tax rate, which is extremely important in these tough economic times, we are still delivering the same level of public services and even increasing funding in some key areas. Morris County’s continued, strong ratable growth and our prudent financial planning make this possible, despite spikes in non-discretionary expenses such as health insurance and pension costs,” stated Commissioner Deborah Smith, Chair of the Commissioners’ Budget Committee.
The proposed $343.5 million spending plan for 2023, presented by the Budget Committee to the entire board tonight, continues to prioritize investments in public safety, infrastructure, human services, education and training, and economic development. Included in the budget is:
- $8.9 million to support the Morris County Park Commission, stewards of the largest county park system in New Jersey (20,455 acres of parkland)
- More than $12 million to support the County College of Morris, an increase over 2022
- Almost $6.3 million to the Morris County Vocational School District, also an increase over 2022
- More than $800,000 for Economic Development and Tourism
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“Public safety is paramount in this day and age, and this budget focuses heavily on Morris County’s efforts to support and augment local emergency services and to fully fund our Sheriff and Prosecutor.” said Commissioner Director John Krickus.
The 2023 spending plan dedicates an estimated $74.6 million to public safety, which includes in part, full dispatch services to 23 municipalities and continuing daily back-up services to local Basic Life Support and Emergency Medical Service units for all 39 Morris County towns. Morris County’s Basic Life Support Emergency Medical Service Unit responded to over 3,866 Emergency calls in 2022.
“The 2023 Budget also reflects our board’s continued commitment to sensible fiscal planning and the ability to help those in the midst of uncertain times by supporting the economic engine that will sustain us. With a proposed $60.7 million fund balance, which is a $2.8 million increase over last year, we have crafted a 2023 Budget that is intent on continuing Morris County’s AAA bond rating for a 48th consecutive year,” said Commissioner Christine Myers, a member of the Budget Committee.
Morris County’s strategic planning also involved using American Rescue Plan Act funding for county investments, specifically to cover select capital expenses previously planned for 2023, 2024, and 2025, which will reduce the county’s future borrowing needs for necessary projects.
“The Preservation Trust Fund Tax, which has protected and enhanced Morris County for more than 30 years, will stay level for 2023, at 5/8 cent per $100 of total county equalized property valuation. The tax pays not only for improvements to our county parks, but also for outstanding grant programs like Farmland Preservation, Open Space Preservation, Historic Preservation, Flood Mitigation, and Trail Design and Construction,” stated Commissioner Stephen Shaw, who is Chair of the Capital Budget/Facilities Review Committee and Liaison to the Office of Planning & Preservation.
Overall, the county’s 2023 Capital Spending Plan designates approximately $25.5 million toward enhancing road resurfacing, improving intersections along the 287 miles of county roadways and replacing bridges and culverts this year. Nearly $8 million in grants will offset county costs.
Road Resurfacing Projects Include:
- 3.3 miles of Mendham Road (CR 510) from Indian Head Road to Cold Hill Road in both Mendham and Morris Townships
- 2.2 miles of Main Road (US 202) from Fulton Street to Route 287 Northbound Ramps in Montville Township
- 4.1 miles of Ridgedale Avenue (CR 632) from Littell Road (Route 10) to Route 280 in both Parsippany and East Hanover Townships
- 3.8 miles of Tempe Wick Road/Glen Alpin Road (CR 646) from Leddell Road to Blue Mill Road in both Mendham and Harding Townships
- 1.8 miles of Newark Pompton Turnpike (CR 660) from Jacksonville Road to Route 23 in Pequannock Township
The Morris County Commissioners will consider adoption of the 2023 Budget at their Wednesday, March 22, 2023 meeting.
Article Courtesy of the County of Morris.