Monmouth County freeholders adopt $452M budget for 2020

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The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has adopted a $452.8 million budget to fund the operation of the county during 2020.

The budget was adopted during a meeting on April 7. Voting “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget were Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone and freeholders Lillian Burry, Patrick Impreveduto, Sue Kiley and Dominick DiRocco.

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Craig R. Marshall, Monmouth County’s director of finance, reviewed the budget for the freeholders and said the spending plan “meets all the needs of the county.”

Arnone said the freeholders and the county’s administrative staff began work on the 2020 budget in November.

In seeking to provide context regarding the spending plan, Arnone noted that in 2010, the county operated with a budget that totaled $493.4 million. A decade later that amount has been trimmed by $40.6 million to this year’s total of $452.8 million.

The impact of the 2020 budget on a property owner’s tax bill will not be known until a county tax rate for each of the 53 municipalities is determined. The county taxes a property owner pays will be determined by the county tax rate that is established 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.

In a resolution the freeholders passed when the budget was introduced in March, appropriations listed for 2020 included the following categories: $100.4 million for public safety; $61.3 million for debt service; $56.3 million for insurance; $43.95 million for human services and health; $40.3 million for statutory expenses; $37.46 million for education; $35.88 million for public works; $29.93 million for general government; and $22 million for parks and recreation.

According to a budget presentation Marshall made to the freeholders before the outbreak of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, county officials were projecting the following revenues in 2020: $311.5 million to be raised from residential and commercial property owners in a tax levy; $54 million in miscellaneous revenues; $36.5 million to be appropriated from the county’s fund balance (savings); $20.75 million to be received as state aid; $7.78 million in state and federal revenues offset with appropriations; and $22.21 million in other special items.

During the April 7 meeting, officials said some of the 2020 revenue projections may have to be revised in the face of the economic impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on many aspects of the county’s operation.

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 office and the sheriff’s office, elections, deed recording and passport services in the county clerk’s office, probate and adoptions through the surrogate’s office, and more.

In 2018, the budget totaled $447.95 million. Residential and commercial property owners paid $304 million in taxes to support the budget. Other revenues included $40 million from the fund balance, $52.23 million in miscellaneous revenues and $21.23 million in state aid.

In 2019, the budget totaled $449.6 million. Residential and commercial property owners paid $305.5 million in taxes to support the budget. Other revenues included $37 million from the fund balance, $55.93 million in miscellaneous revenues and $19.1 million in state aid.

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

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