Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
94 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079
CONTACT: Deborah Turner-Fox, Clerk of the Board/Administrator
March 11, 2003
NO COUNTY TAX INCREASE FOR SALEM COUNTY RESIDENTS
For the first time since many of us can remember, there will be no county tax increase for the residents of Salem County. Freeholder Director Jack Kugler will introduce a budget at the April 2, 2003 Freeholder Meeting which holds the tax rate at existing levels.
Since 1990, Salem County’s budget has more than doubled, growing from just over $30 Million dollars in 1990 to $63 Million dollars. In the last three years alone, the budget has increased by 7.8 cents which equates to approximately $10 Million dollars.
Citing the fledging economy and imminent oversees conflict as reasons to exercise financial restraint, Kugler notes that everyone across this country, whether they are individual consumers, small business owners or large enterprises is doing their part to keep spending in check. "We can always find ways to spend more money," stated Kugler, "but as a County Government we need to play a leadership role in turning around the economy and increasing consumer confidence." Department Heads are being held accountable for spending in their areas and are being asked to look at different ways of doing business that can help reduce costs while increasing the quality and quantity of services available to county residents. Economic Development initiatives are expected to help spur a growth in ratables. Aggressive pursuit of alternative funding options like grants and inter local service agreements, are also anticipated to help curb the need for increased funding in the coming year. Cost savings are already being achieved in the areas of staff salaries, insurance costs, and professional service agreements and more are on the horizon.
This budget proposal also provides funding for Farmland Preservation initiatives that Salem County voters overwhelmingly supported last November. In passing a non-binding resolution which allocates 2 cents towards a separate tax, our county residents have made it clear that they want this portion of New Jersey to continue to be known as the Garden State. For this year this initiative will be funded entirely with $681,000 from the county’s capital account. This is slightly above the amount recommended by the voters when they approved the non-binding resolution last November.