News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director
Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul M. Drake, Commissioner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2023
Contact Brad Fay at 908-231-7628 for more information
Somerset County Introduces 2023 Budget that Maintains Services at Reduced Tax Rate
County Commissioners Propose a Budget that ‘Maintains Fiscal Discipline’ while Funding Vital County Services
SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Board of County Commissioners introduced a 2023 County budget that preserves vital services for the County’s more than 345,000 residents while providing a fiscally responsible budget that preserves the County’s important AAA Bond Rating.
“After operating under emergency conditions for three years, we’ve seen the vital role county government plays in protecting the health and well-being of our residents, and recovering from natural disasters,” said Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson. “This budget ensures we continue to provide those and many other vital services, while also maintaining fiscal discipline and a reduced tax rate at a time when residents are being squeezed by high inflation.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of the work of our County employees, especially during challenging times,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Douglas Singleterry. “At the same time, we took a hard look at every line in the budget, and limited the increase in costs to 4.4%, well below today’s inflation rate.”
The proposed budget of $266,346,509 includes $221,882,385 to be raised through property taxes. The average county home valued at $510,695 will see a small increase in the County’s portion of their property tax bill of $77.71. The tax rate will decline by 1.71%.
Nearly 70% of the budget consists of obligated costs required by State or Federal law. The primary costs driving increases for the year were health insurance, debt service, and pension obligations. The County continues to manage more than $10 million in deferred costs related to responding municipal recovery needs following Hurricane Ida, nearly all of which is expected to be reimbursed by FEMA and other Federal agencies.
A public hearing on the proposed County budget will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13. Residents are encouraged to watch and participate in the public hearing at the Commissioners’ Meeting Room on the third floor of the Administration Building at 20 Grove Street, Somerville, NJ, or via a link contained on the County’s website or the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SomersetCountyNJ. Prior to the meeting, questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2023 County budget will:
- Maintain significant infrastructure, including 38 parks and open space across 15,000 acres, 248 miles of county roads, and 752 bridges.
- Fund high-performing public health services, 911 communications, emergency response, and training capabilities.
- Fund the Sheriff’s Office, Prosecutor, and Corrections Facilities.
- Fund comprehensive human services operations during a period of crisis for mental health and substance use.
- Provide vital transit services to our workforce and seniors.
- Support economic development, tourism, and planning.
- Partially fund affiliated agencies including the County Vocational Technical High School, Raritan Valley Community College, Somerset County Park Commission, Social Services, and Somerset County Business Partnership.
The budget includes nearly 200 shared services that save taxpayer dollars:
- Providing municipalities and schools with easy access to shared services via the innovative Somerset County Marketplace.
- Recycling for all 21 municipalities, including schools.
- Transportation services for six municipalities.
- Graphics and printing services for 13 municipalities.
- Vehicle maintenance for 30 municipalities and agencies.
- Vehicle fuel for over 50 agencies.
- Statewide emergency services training.
- Public health services for nine municipalities.
- Full dispatch service for 23 municipalities (two out of county), 41 fire departments, and 17 EMS stations.
- A statewide cooperative purchasing program.
Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Somerset County is governed and managed by the Board of County Commissioners. The Board consists of five members with one or two elected each year in November in the general election, and they each serve three-year terms. Commissioners serve as liaisons to all divisions in the county.
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