Mercer County freeholders hold public hearing to adopt $332.7 million county budget on April 23

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The Mercer County Board of Freeholders will vote on whether to adopt a $332.7 million budget to fund the operation of the county during 2020 on April 23.

The budget had been introduced during a meeting on Feb. 25. Freeholder Chairman Andrew Koontz, Vice Chairman Samuel Frisby and freeholders John Cimino, Ann Cannon and Lucylle Walter voted “yes” on the measure to move the budget to a public hearing.

Freeholders Nina Melker and Pasquale Colavita were absent from the meeting.

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 12 municipalities is determined.

The county taxes a property owner pays will be determined by the county tax rate that is established for his/her municipality and the assessed value of their property.

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

In the budget that was introduced in February, appropriations listed for 2020 included the following categories: $88 million in miscellaneous items such as community college, lease rental payments, and social services; $43.48 million for insurance, $39.87 million for Department of Law and Justice (Prosecutor’s Office, County Clerk’s Office and Sheriff’s Office), $37.6 million for public safety, $29.2 million for general government, $25.9 million for debt service, $20.6 million for transportation and infrastructure.

According to the introduced budget before the outbreak of coronavirus, county officials were projecting the following revenues in 2020: $271.3 million to be raised from residential and commercial property owners in a tax levy; $47.6 million in miscellaneous revenues; and use $13.7 million from surplus (savings).

In 2019, the budget totaled $352.2 million. Residential and commercial property owners paid $269.3 million in taxes to support the budget. Other revenues included $69.18 million in miscellaneous revenues and the use of $13.7 million in surplus.

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