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Mercer County freeholders adopt $325 million budget for county operations in 2020

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The Mercer County Board of Freeholders have adopted a $325.7 million budget to fund the operation of the county during 2020.

Freeholder Chairman Andrew Koontz, Vice Chairman Samuel Frisby and Freeholders John Cimino, Ann Cannon, Lucylle Walter, and Nina Melker voted “yes” on the budget’s adoption on June 11.

Freeholder Pasquale Colavita was absent for the vote.

The budget had been originally introduced during a meeting on Feb. 25.

“This budget has been thoroughly reviewed by the freeholders and the 2020 budget also reflects reductions and cuts made by this board over the course of meetings in March and April,” Koontz said.

According to county officials, the budget reflects the anticipated reduction in revenues due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

County officials are projecting the following revenues in 2020: $269.3 million to be raised from residential and commercial property owners in a tax levy; $42.2 million in miscellaneous revenues which includes $7 million from the Trenton-Mercer Airport, $5.18 million in grants and $4.9 million from the county clerk’s office; and use of $14.2 million from surplus (savings), according to the adopted budget.

In the adopted budget, appropriations listed for 2020 included the following categories: $87.4 million in miscellaneous items such as community college, lease rental payments and social services; $43.48 million for insurance, $39.2 million for Department of Law and Justice (Prosecutor’s Office, County Clerk’s Office and Sheriff’s Office), $34.8 million for public safety, $29.2 million for general government, $27.8 million for administration, $20.19 million for transportation and infrastructure and $11.17 million for Human Services.

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.

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.

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