County to Introduce 2012 Budget With Slight Tax Hike

Freeholders to introduce spending plan at meeting Wednesday

The Ocean County freeholders will introduce a 2012 budget next Wednesday that will increase taxes 1.84 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The proposed $354,189,356 spending plan will necessitate a tax rate of 29 cents per $100 of assessed value to raise the $300,026,643 tax levy.

"During the past few years, Ocean County has experienced substantial decreases in revenues and increases in nondiscretionary costs like insurance coupled with a sizeable drop in the county's ratable base," said Deputy Director John C. Bartlett, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Finance. "Combining this with meeting the needs of a growing county has resulted in adjustments to the county property tax rate."

The overall spending plan totals $1.4 million above the $352.7 million 2011 budget, which raised $293.3 million via taxation. The proposed budget increase comes well short of the state-mandated 2 percent cap, representing an increase of half a percent, freeholders said.

"This is a bare bones budget, no bells or whistles," freeholder Director Gerry Little said. "There are no new programs or services. This sustains our core services."

Freeholders plan to hold spending flat across most line items, including Senior Services, Ocean County College and the Ocean Vocational-Technical Schools.

However, other governmental requirements necessitate an increased line item for the Board of Social Services, with an additional $234,573 budgeted for a total $19.7 million expenditure. 

"This budget provides a modest increase to the Board of Social Services in order to continue to receive matching state and federal funds," Little said.

The drop in the county's ratable base has lead freeholders to look for savings elsewhere, such as staffing. The 2012 budget features a net loss of 56 positions via attrition for a savings of $358,102 and continues a strategy employed within the past three budget cycles.

"We have reduced the number of positions in county government by almost 200 during the last three years," Bartlett said.

However, the freeholders do plan for new law enforcement hires they say are neccessary to serve the needs of the il. Twelve corrections officers will be phased into the workforce along with four civilian employees.

"Public safety is a priority for the Board of Freeholders," Freeholder John Kelly said. "We are doing all we can to keep staffing at the appropriate levels while not creating an additional financial burden on the taxpayers who pay the bills."

The freeholders will introduce the 2012 budget at its 4 p.m. regular meeting Wednesday in the county , 101 Hooper Ave., Toms River. A public hearing is scheduled for the March 21 freeholder meeting. 

"While property values dropped again in Ocean County, it is still important to remember we continue to be one of the fastest growing counties in the state with the largest population of seniors and veterans," Bartlett said. "This budget reflects the ongoing efforts of this board and its county departments to reduce costs and yet provide quality services and programs to our citizens." 

paul rodgers February 20, 2012 at 07:06 PM
of course you think they have great ideas you are one of the two of them . what mc cain warned me about ? someone should have warned him picking the car show model for a running mate would cost him the election. what has obama done lately besides killing bin laden and most of the top al queda leaders ? much too much for you to wrap your limited thinking around. as for falsehoods it public knowledge that it was a road not a trail that this town committee wasted millions on . checks arent being sent to t&m engineering every month and gilmore's office to deal with a trail but to deal with a road to nowhere this town voted no on already. as far as the kool aid line when will your type ever find a new slogan? i guess if it doesnt fit on a bumper sticker it aint worth repeating huh johnny smith?
mussel mon February 20, 2012 at 07:13 PM
wrong again and will the bumper stickers be for sale at town hall lol.
paul rodgers February 20, 2012 at 08:01 PM
i guess you got tired of using the name forked tongue and john smith huh?
paul rodgers February 20, 2012 at 08:02 PM
wrong? guess you would have to ask mc cain how that presidential run worked out for him. lol
mussel mon February 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM
yes you,re wrong but about obama remember the same people that noted for him also voted for corzine the billions are missing guy you go jimmcgreevey pull your pants up teddy kennedy and the biggest laugher of all joe biden. talk bout lol. so who,s next


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »