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County Cuts Tax Rate for 22nd Straight Year

Burlington County freeholders cut $17.1 million in spending to pass a budget that once again cuts the tax levy and the tax rate.

After cutting $17.1 million in spending, Burlington County freeholders reduced the county tax rate for the 22nd year in a row.   

Freeholders adopted a $199.8 million budget Wednesday that cuts the amount of tax dollars needed to run county government by $6.2 million, making this the fifth year in a row the tax levy has been reduced.

Since 2007, taxes have been cut a total of $14.7 million and spending has been reduced by $26.8 million for the same period. This year’s budget calls for a cut in the county tax rate from 30.96¢ per $100 of equalized valuation to 30.91¢.

“These multimillion dollar reductions in taxes and spending did not come easily but, once again, they come at a time when they are needed most,” said Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio. “Let the record reflect that county government has responded to residents and taxpayers who are still struggling to get by in a difficult economic environment.”

He added, “At the same time, this budget sends a powerful message to current and prospective businesses, and our residents who are looking for employment: We are doing everything possible to instill a favorable tax policy, to enhance economic growth, and to create jobs.”

Garganio said the tax savings have been realized despite an estimate shortfall of $15 million when budget planning began months ago.

Major reductions in health benefits costs of more than $4 million, the outsourcing of the county’s transportation services, continued freezes in salary and wages for non-union personnel, and in hiring, and the sale of Buttonwood Hospital all factored into the final budget document.

“The reality is that you will find significant cuts in most departments and most line items, but core programs and services remain intact,” Garganio said.

The 2012 budget is well within both the appropriation cap and tax levy cap imposed by the state. The amount to be raised by taxation is nearly $9.6 million less than the amount permitted by law.

Garganio noted that declining tax ratables—from $50 billion to $48.2 billion—factored heavily into the budget shortfall. He said an additional decline in ratables is expected in 2013.

“We’re already crunching numbers for the next budget year,” he said. “It’s not going to get any easier.”

Courtesy of the Public Information Office of Burlington County

Ric August 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM
The county can easily cut $5 million more out of their budget if they would end the Municipal Park Development Pork, oops I meant Park, Program - where they “grant” county taxpayer’s money to townships like Moorestown to improve its parks. Funny, I always thought Moorestown was a rich town that did not need handouts. I thought several years ago Moorestown won Money Magazine’s award as most livable town in America and now they are broke? Funding for township parks should be paid for by the township. The county should only fund county parks. Oh, I forgot, with the county slipping money to the township everyone in government looks like winners. Towns in this county should be responsible for maintaining their own parks. Otherwise why not eliminate township taxes all together and have the county taxes pay for everything from trash removal to schools? What is the purpose of township governments if the county is slipping them money under the door for township’s own responsibilities? County freeholders this week approved $5 million under the Municipal Park Development http://cinnaminson.patch.com/articles/cinnaminson-awarded-grant-will-rehab-memorial-park-structure

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