Freeholder Board Introduces 2020 Budget
Hearing Scheduled for May 26
SOMERVILLE – The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders has introduced a proposed county budget for 2020 that preserves needed services for the county’s more than 331,161 citizens and maintains the county’s triple-A bond rating.
“We have an obligation to taxpayers to operate efficiently and effectively while continuing to provide essential services and maintain the county’s exceptional triple-A bond rating,” said Freeholder Director Shanel Y. Robinson. “Somerset County is known for our prudent management of county resources and our efforts to keep costs down.”
A public hearing on the county budget proposal is set at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26. Residents are encouraged to watch the public hearing online at www.co.somerset.nj.us/livestream. Questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public can access the livestream from a link on the homepage, under “In the Spotlight,” or on the freeholders’ webpage. An archive of livestreamed meetings can be found on the same webpage.
"It is not by accident that Somerset County is consistently ranked in the top tier of desirable places to live, work and raise a family. We work hard to maintain the high quality of life that residents and businesses have come to expect,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Sara Sooy. “Somerset County provides high-quality services and programs as efficiently as anyone. And we share those efficiencies and cost savings with our municipalities and other local agencies by funding almost 200 shared services.”
The average county home valued at $439,592 will see an overall county tax increase of $28.60 for the year. The proposed $253,170,613 county budget includes $203,043,287 to be raised by taxation. The 2020 county tax rate will increase by 1.35 percent, from .3218 to .3261per $100 of assessed value.
Somerset County also has retained its triple-A ranking from the major bond-rating services: Moody’s, Fitch’s and Standard & Poor’s.
The proposed 2020 county budget will:
- Fully fund the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy.
- Fully fund the county employee health center.
- Maintain 248 centerline miles of county roads and 752 bridges.
- Maintain 38 parks, recreation and open space areas encompassing 15,000 acres.
- Fund nearly 200 shared services with local governments and other organizations in the county.
- Provide partial funding for the Vocational-Technical High School, Raritan Valley Community College, Board of Social Services, Somerset County Business Partnership and Somerset County Park Commission.
- Partially fund the Somerset County Business Partnership.
The budget includes the following shared services that save taxpayer dollars:
- Recycling for all 21 municipalities, including schools.
- Transportation services for five municipalities and three nonprofit organizations.
- Vehicle maintenance for 14 municipalities.
- Vehicle fueling for more than 50 agencies.
- Statewide emergency services training.
- Health services for eight municipalities.
Somerset County covers all costs for the following services that benefit residents:
- 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) for 20 municipalities.
- Full dispatch service for 16 municipalities (one out of county), 41 fire departments and 17 EMS stations.
- A statewide cooperative purchasing program.
Visit https://bit.ly/SCBudget2020 to view the budget document and budget presentation.