Arnone Addresses The Monmouth County Budget

Arnone_2.jpg_11-12[1]By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone

As I enter the third year of my first term as a Monmouth County Freeholder, I would like to share the following information regarding the county budget. The 2013 budget plan as presented today totals 481 million which is 6.35 million lower than last year’s adopted budget, and has a flat tax levy for the third year in a row.  This spending plan is $12,400,000.00 lower than the spending plan adopted in early 2010, which is where the budget peaked prior to the reduction in the budget over each of the last 3 years.

      The 6.35 million dollar reduction was accomplished by utilizing additional fund balance, anticipated greater levels of revenues that performed well in 2012, a reduction in total salaries based on reduced payroll expenditures, reduction of capital which will lower new debt authorization, reduction in health benefits due to new legislation, as well as, improved benefits management with the new provider, and a reduction in utility expense due to energy efficiency improvements.  All of these items closed the gap to balance the budget, as well as, offset some additional revenue losses that were not expected originally when the budget process started.  These include Medicaid cuts for the Care Centers, reductions in Division of Social Services revenue, reductions in Federal Inmates and a loss of trust fund revenue due to Super Storm Sandy. As the liaison and a strong supporter of shared services, I am extremely happy to report that Shared Services has been a huge success for Monmouth County. As promised we used revenue from Shared Services to offset tax increases. Shared Services generated revenue in excess of $3.6 million which also went a long way in balancing the budget.

      Between 2008 and 2013 the authorized table of organization had declined from a total of 3781 positions to 3112 positions.  That is a reduction of 669 total positions with 380 of them being full-time, 40 being part-time, and 249 being seasonal.  The County workforce has been reduced by 17.69% in 5 years since 2008.

      In terms of salary expenditures, not budget, the County spent 176.8 million on payroll in 2008.  That number has declined every year since until 2012 where it increased by about 1 million.  In 2012, total salary expenditures were just under 171 million, which is 5.8 million lower than was spent in 2008, despite the fact that union and non-union salary increases were granted in all years but 2009. This has been accomplished through an aggressive hiring freeze and review of all non-essential positions.  Every time a position becomes vacant, a thorough review is conducted to see if the position can be eliminated, consolidated with another function, or reduced to part-time in order to yield savings.  The position is only filled when deemed essential to the operation and would generally be filled at a lower salary.

      The County continues to face the pressures of increased fixed costs and reduced revenues to the tune of almost 48 million dollars since 2008.  Yet we have managed to keep spending levels now lower than 2008’s, while dealing with 48 million of increased costs and reduced revenues.

      From 1999 through 2010 the County budget had an average increase of 16.2 million each year, which equates to an average annual percentage increase of 5.14%.  Since entering office in 2010, the budget has been reduced each year.  Over the last three years the budget had an average annual decrease of 4.13 million, which equates to an average annual percentage decrease of (0.84%).

Similarly, from 1999 through 2010 the County tax levy had an average increase of 9.87 million each year, which equates to an average annual percentage increase of 5.09%.  It should also be noted that these numbers were improved by a zero percent tax increase in 2008.  Since 2010 the County tax levy has remained unchanged in all three years. For this budget as presented, the County is more than 9.5 million below the Governor’s 2% CAP law which was passed in 2010.

         Monmouth County ranks 4th lowest in terms of the amount of the budget to be raised by taxation at 62.07%. This means that Monmouth County relies far less on the taxpayers than most of the other Counties in New Jersey.

         Similarly, Monmouth County also ranks 4th lowest in terms of the rate at which taxes are apportioned to its constituent municipalities at 0.2606 cents per $100 of equalized valuations. Again, this means that based on the total value of the County, Monmouth County has amongst the lowest tax burdens in New Jersey.

         I am pleased that I have been able to be a part of this budget especially in the hard economic times we are faced with. It has been and always will be a priority of mine as well as the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders to continue this trend of savings to our Monmouth County residents.

Posted: March 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Budget, Tom Arnone | Tags: , | 11 Comments »

11 Comments on “Arnone Addresses The Monmouth County Budget”

  1. Great job, Freeholders, said at 10:41 pm on March 6th, 2013:

    And let’s all pay attention as to which branch of government actually displays some responsibility and respect for all of our tax dollars they are entrusted with. If ya gotta live in NJ, Monmouth’s the only option.

  2. Are the Correction Officers making More than the Governor said at 1:43 pm on March 7th, 2013:

    Are the correction officers making more than the governor again this year?

  3. The annual said at 2:21 pm on March 7th, 2013:

    “Trash the Sheriff’s Officers” has begun! Once more, slowly: coverage of all prisoners in all pods,is mandated by law. You can either pay the people to work regular time,with more employees, or work less employees, and pay them the mandated overtime. There really isn’t much mystery,here. If their unions have done a good job for them, and in the past they have, after a certain amouth of years in, most of them make a pretty good wage. You don’t like it, tell your legislators to change laws. Or, if young, not crazy, and in shape, change careers and become one!

  4. Bob English said at 2:57 pm on March 7th, 2013:

    Just a reminder to all that there is another public budget presentation at 7 p.m. March 19 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters on Symmes Drive, Manalapan. I attended the first one the other night in Shrewsbury. The presentation is roughly 30 minutes and then there is a Q & A period where they took and answered everyones questions.

  5. Ronald said at 7:34 pm on March 8th, 2013:

    The Freeholders have done a horrible job. Take a look at all the overtime the county is paying to its employees. Two people working at the jail made over $175,000 last year because of all the overtime they received.

    Data Universe — Overtime in Monmouth County

  6. Can't u read? said at 8:12 am on March 9th, 2013:

    See “The annual” above: the choice is: hire more officers with salary and benefits, or pay existing employees overtime. You are mandated to cover the little darlings, period. Remember, the Sheriff is one of three Constitutional Officers we elect in each county. The Freeholders have only a minimum of say over how and on what a sheriff can spend his monies, why don’t you ask and learn rather than criticize? County jails also receive income from housing state and Fed. prisoner. Stop being jealous of a few longtime employees who get a good salary, it’s both uninformed and childish. When’s the last time you tried to manage the criminals among us, often these officers risk life and disease from these animals, over a career. Why not check and see if the academy has an empty slot ,so you can become a corrections officer and get in on this “gravy train”, too?

  7. Privitize The Damn Jail!!! said at 3:54 pm on March 9th, 2013:

    Want to cut costs? Have Corrections Corporation, the largest private corrections company, come in and do an assement.

    I am more than sure they will do what’s being done at the county jail at a fraction of the cost.

    As for the sheriff being a constitutional position, yes he is. However, most counties in this state took over operations from certain sheriff’s and created their own Correction Department. Why did this happen? Because of the inept and mismanagment of certain sheriff’s in the past.

    As for Golden, How can he manage the costs at the jail, when he can’t even manage his own administration, i.e. Mickey Donovan? Need I say anymore?

  8. Many privatizing companies said at 9:12 am on March 10th, 2013:

    wind up hiring back many of the current employees. We still have to pay the bill, which may or may not wind up being cheaper ,in the long run. And, the competition in this economy is so stiff, there are often the hungry lawyers around,ready to sue for their clients, which ties up the contracting-and guess who pays the legal bills to defend the county? YOU!

  9. If they hire current employees... said at 9:29 pm on March 10th, 2013:

    It will be at a much cheaper wage, with little or no benefits. It would cost the taxpayers less. Oh, and bye the way, they would have to have indemnification on their own.

    The Monmouth County correction officers’ salaries are unsustainable. Isn’t it amazing the Asbury Park Press didn’t publish their salaries for 2012 yet??? Gee, I wonder why?

  10. Not necessarily, do you handle large govt. contracts? said at 9:23 pm on March 11th, 2013:

    And, remember, the Press is in the process of slowly dying, so maybe are a little understaffed,as to updating salaries: be assured, they love to drive the wedge between the govt. workers vs. the private sector ones, so anything they can do to pursue that, they eventually will. And with folks like you waiting for it so you can feel even worse, their readership isn’t all gone, just yet. Also,I would argue that as for sustainability, none of the government’s promises these days is really “sustainable”, yet somehow,we soldier on!

  11. Howelling mad said at 6:52 am on March 12th, 2013:

    RE: If they hire: I’m curious, What do you think a Corrections Officer should earn? Your statement “with little or no benefits” is interesting, do you feel that no public employee should have “benefits” ? Now I’m not that good with math so bear with me for a min. In 2010 Mon. Cty had about 630,000 residents. Arnone states 3112 Positions in 2012. Arnone further states just under 171,000,000 in payroll. so off the top of my head 171,000,000/3112/630,000=0.0872. Am I wrong or did I just come up with less than 10 cents a year per resident? Or did i miss a decimal and it’s just less than a dollar a year ?