No Tax Rate Increase in Morris County 2022 Budget
Balanced Spending Plan Boosts Funding for Public Health & Safety, Human Services and Economic Development
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners unanimously introduced the county government’s 2022 Budget last night with no increase in the tax rate for a third consecutive year, while boosting funds for public safety and health, infrastructure projects, human services, education and economic development. “We are pleased for the third year in a row to deliver a budget with no increase in the county property tax rate, while delivering excellent services to our residents,” said Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen.
The proposed $331.1 million spending plan insures the continuation of Morris County’s top AAA Bond rating – maintained for 46 years – with an anticipated $57.9 million fund balance representing a $1.7 million increase over last year. The 2022 Budget additionally prioritizes investments in education and cultural programs, including the $25 million creation of the Morris County Vocational School District’s new Career Training Center at the County College of Morris in Randolph.
“This budget is financially sound and should continue our AAA rating standing, with a strong investment in capital projects including $25 million for the 500 student expansion of the Morris Vocational School District providing skills training that will provide the skilled workers our country needs and bright futures for our residents,” from Commissioner Deputy Director John Krickus, Chair of the Board of Commissioners’ Budget Committee.
The budget dedicates $68.3 million to public safety, with another $36.6 million earmarked for health and human services programs, with a focus on community-based human service initiatives, including Hope Hub, Hope One, Navigating Hope, veterans programs, employment training and senior nutrition programs.
“We have a mission-driven allocation of financial investments towards combatting substance use disorders and overcoming mental health challenges, working with valued nonprofits to address human service needs. A broad range of county government is involved, including human services, the Sheriff’s Office’s Hope One and Navigating Hope programs, and initiatives by the Prosecutor’s Office,” Commissioner Kathryn DeFillippo, a member of the budget committee.
Critical Community Investments
The 2022 Budget contains approximately $34.3 million in educational, cultural and economic development incentives that service all 39 municipalities in Morris County. Included are:
• $18.9 million to support the County College of Morris, Morris County Vocational School District, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Morris County Superintendent of Schools Office
• $8.9 million to support the 20,394-acre Morris County Park System
• $5.7 million for the Morris County Library and Morris County Heritage Commission
• $816,000 for Economic Development and Tourism
“Economic Development and Tourism spending is increased over 2021 as we promote Morris County as the best place to live, work and play, and now work from home, as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith, a member of the budget committee.
Critical Infrastructure Investments
The 2022 Budget includes a $62.5 million Capital Spending Plan for the calendar year, offset by $30.4 million in grants. It prioritizes $14 million for road resurfacing of 25.6 miles in 15 towns, puts $6.83 million toward bridge and culvert projects, and dedicates $2.8 million for intersection improvements.
Road Resurfacing Projects Include:
• 2.2 miles of Fairmount Road in Washington Township
• 2.2 miles of Green Pond Road in Rockaway and Jefferson townships
• 2.5 miles of Park Avenue from Columbia Turnpike to Route 124 in Madison, Florham Park and Morris Township
• 2.5 miles of Village Road in Harding Township
Intersection Improvements Include:
• Flanders Netcong Road and Main Street Intersection with Route 206, Mount Olive
• Boonton Avenue at Taylortown Road, Montville Township
• Guide Rail Upgrades and Installations throughout the County Bridge & Culvert Projects Include:
• Dickson’s Mill Road Bridge in Harding Township
• Pleasant Hill Road Bridge in Mount Olive
• Hurd Street Bridge in Mine Hill Township
The Morris County Commissioners will consider adoption of their operating budget at the Wednesday, April 13, 2022 meeting.