2023 Morris County Budget Adopted
Key Highlights Include Strong Ratable Growth and No Tax Rate Increase
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted a 2023 Budget tonight, with no increase in the tax rate as funding expanded for public safety, infrastructure, human services, education and training, and economic development.
“We are proud to adopt a 2023 Budget that continues to encourage the high quality of life consistent with Morris County, while also being sensitive to the financial strain placed on taxpayers amid historic rates of inflation. Strong ratable growth and prudent financial planning made this budget possible. Morris County’s wise planning on healthcare benefits enabled us to have a much lower impact on increasing costs than what other counties experienced with the state health plan. This enables us to provide and increase services such as public safety, while maintaining a flat (tax) rate,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith, Chair of the Board’s Budget Committee.
The $343.5 million 2023 Budget includes a $124.3 million Capital Spending Plan for the calendar year, of which $10.3 million is covered in grants and $85 million will apply towards the new Courthouse project. With those factors accounted for, the net 2023 Capital Spending Plan of traditional projects is approximately $29 million. This year’s fund balance also grew by $2.8 million, bringing it to $60.7 million, to safeguard against unforeseeable economic changes and help ensure Morris County maintains the AAA Bond rating it has held for 47 years.
“Our AAA standing saves everyone money in both the short and long term because it enables our towns and school districts, as well as the county, to borrow funds for important infrastructure projects at the best possible finance rates,” 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 county government is involved in carrying out mission-driven allocation of financial investments that help target a myriad of programs meeting the diverse needs and challenges of our community. Initiatives like our Navigating Hope program and the Sheriff Office’s Hope One are combatting issues like substance use while raising awareness about county resources and available support,” Commissioner Deputy Director Christine Myers, a member of the Budget Committee.
Critical Community Investments
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 grant programs like Farmland Preservation, Open Space Preservation, Historic Preservation, Flood Mitigation, and Trail Design and Construction.
- Among the educational, cultural and economic development incentives included in the 2023 Budget are:
- $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 $6.4 million to the Morris County Vocational School District, also an increase over 2022
- More than $800,000 for Economic Development and Tourism
Critical Infrastructure Investments
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
- Intersection Improvements Include:
- Ridgedale Avenue and Greenwood Avenue, Florham Park
- Center Grove Road and Quaker Church Road, Randolph
- Guide Rail Upgrades and Installations throughout the County
Bridge & Culvert Projects Include:
- Dickson’s Mill Road Bridge in Harding Township
- Parsippany Boulevard Bridge in Parsippany
- Beach Street Bridge in Rockaway Borough
- Morris Street Bridge in Denville