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Spending, Taxes Could Decrease in New County Budget

The county's public budget hearing will be held in August.

Freeholders here introduced a budget that calls for more than $6 million in cuts and would reduced the tax levy on residents for the fifth year in a row.

The $199.8 million budget also calls for a $17.1 million cut in spending, while reducing the tax rate from 30.96¢ per $100 of equalized valuation to 30.91¢. This marks the 22nd year in a row that the rate has been cut.

Since 2007, taxes have been cut a total $14.7 million. Spending is being reduced a total $26.8 million for the same period.

“We continue to identify both tax and spending savings in multi-million dollar amounts which, in this fiscal environment, is a significant but necessary budgeting accomplishment, and one that keeps our pledge to Burlington County residents,” said Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio.

Garganio pointed out that two major Burlington County employers—Burlington Coat and Subaru—recently announced plans to stay in the county and even expand.

“Maintaining a favorable tax policy is paramount to economic development, and certainly factors into our efforts to attract new businesses,” he said.

The county faced a budgeting shortfall of approximately $15 million when work began on the spending plan, which was attributed in part to the continuing decline in property tax ratables, Garganio said. Total ratables now stand at $48.2 billion, a decrease of nearly $1.8 billion from 2011.

A projected decrease 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 pending sale of Buttonwood Hospital, were among the items that factored into a budget that cuts both taxes and spending, he said.

“We don’t leave anything on the table,” said Garganio, “and as soon as this budget is adopted, the budget for 2013 comes into the cross-hairs. We know we will face another revenue shortfall next year, and we intend to begin addressing that immediately.”

Because of the hefty cuts in taxes and spending, 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.

The formal public hearing on the budget is set for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the Freeholder Board Room, County Administration Building, 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly.

John July 12, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Thats great that the taxes are going down....So is the value of the housing, people are leaving there homes vacant b/c of the taxes....I know, I have a vacant house next door and its been vacant for over 3 years and the house is a mess, the property is not taken care of and it makes my house look bad....Why don't the tax people get on this issue....oh well, its like everything else, do nothing until its too late.....
Crass Marrocco July 12, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Agreed....I have a house on my street that has sat abandoned for 3 years and now one that had caught fire and makes the street look like Camden. I hope when the assessors come around to jack up my taxes again they'll take that into consideration.
Lenola Rules July 13, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Thanks. Now win it big in November Bruce! Perhaps you may think about higher office next year? Just a thought.
Greg July 13, 2012 at 02:22 AM
If Bruce can do it why can't our local politicians do it? Something is fishy here.
Ric July 13, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Re; Burlington Coat Factory staying in Burlco: nj.com reports today that the state paid $40 million to Burlington Coat Factory to stay put. Umm, is this $40 million coming from taxpayer money? Must have been an oversight in the press release. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2012/07/burlington_coat_factory_receiv.html
John August 17, 2012 at 06:06 PM
OH no another way for our tax money to go down and then we have to face another tax hike......its bad enough that we are assessed on property that does not indicate the value of the home, its called market value.....This is what we are supposed to pay taxes on not some number they want to pick out of the AIR......WHY is it that the assessed value of a home can be pegged at 288,000 but the MARKET VALUE is only 224,000.....SOME ONE BETTER CHECK THE BOOKS or I have to go back to school to learn the NEW MATH, oooopppppsssss they do not teach that in schools.....just PAY PAY PAY......thanks alot people.....

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