Morris County adopts 2022 budget without an increase in tax rate
Public Health and Safety, Human Services and Economic Development Prioritized in Balanced Spending Plan
MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County’s 2022 Budget was adopted tonight by the Board of County Commissioners, who held the tax rate stable for another year as they expanded funding for public safety and health, infrastructure projects, human services, education and economic development.
“Our 2022 Budget provides the high level of services Morris County residents have come to expect, especially since the pandemic hit, yet it also delivers the type of fiscal prudence demanded by tax-paying families dealing with historic inflation in America. This is the third consecutive year we have prevented an increase in the county tax rate. Still, we were able to increase spending on public health and public safety,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith, a member of the Board of Commissioners’ Budget Committee.
The $331.1 million 2022 Budget includes a $62.5 million Capital Spending Plan for the calendar year, which will be offset by $30.4 million in grants, and the budget buffers the county against unforeseeable economic changes by anticipating a $57.9 million fund balance. That balance marks a $1.7 million increase over last year, solidifying the prospects of Morris County maintaining an AAA Bond rating, which it has held for 46 years.
“Maintaining our AAA standing is important to every resident because it enables our towns and school districts, as well as the county, to borrow funds for our important infrastructure projects at the best possible finance rates, saving everyone money in both the short and long term,” said Commissioner Deputy Director John Krickus, Chair of the Board’s Budget Committee.
The 2022 spending plan also includes an estimated $34.3 million in educational, cultural and economic development incentives, and dedicates $68.3 million to public safety programs and another $36.6 million toward health and human services programs.
“Community-based human service initiatives, such as programs for mental health and drug addiction treatment, along with senior nutrition programs, veteran services and even employment training, are heavily supported by this budget,” said Commissioner Kathryn DeFillippo, a member of the budget committee.
The budget includes Morris County’s contribution to the $24.8 million creation of the Morris County Vocational School District’s new Career Training Center at the County College of Morris in Randolph. The two-story, 45,940 square-foot Center will be financed by $6.2 million from the county and $18.6 million from state under Securing Our Children’s Future (SOCF) Bond Act. The Center has the potential to add 500 more students to the School District, providing them with the skills and training leading to lucrative careers, while expanding the diversity of the county’s workforce and helping leading industries in the region to grow, prosper and improve the area’s economy.
Critical Community Investments
Among the educational, cultural and economic development incentives included in the 2022 Budget 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
Critical Infrastructure Investments
The $62.5 million Capital Spending Plan prioritizes road resurfacing with $14 million earmarked for work on 25.6 miles in 15 towns. Another $2.8 million is slated for intersection improvements, and $6.83 million is dedicated to bridge and culvert projects.
Road Resurfacing Projects Include:
- 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
- 2.2 miles of Fairmount Road in Washington Township
- 2.2 miles of Green Pond Road in Rockaway and Jefferson townships
Intersection Improvements Include:
- Boonton Avenue at Taylortown Road, Montville Township
- Flanders Netcong Road and Main Street Intersection with Route 206, Mount Olive
- Guide Rail Upgrades and Installations throughout the County
Bridge & Culvert Projects Include:
- Dickson’s Mill Road Bridge in Harding Township
- Hurd Street Bridge in Mine Hill Township
- Pleasant Hill Road Bridge in Mount Olive