Gloucester County Commissioners Keep Promise; Okay FY Balanced Budget
Sunday, March 26, 2023
Balanced Budget Keeps Spending Flat as Part of Three-Year Commitment
At its March 15, 2023 meeting, the Gloucester County Board of County Commissioners approved the County government’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023. This balanced budget, first introduced at the Board’s meeting on February 11, maintains spending at levels identical to Fiscal Year 2022 with an anticipated county tax rate cut.
Commissioner Director Frank J. DiMarco noted, “As a Board, we are proud to adopt this budget, which keeps spending flat. In August of last year, we tasked the County’s Administration - by resolution - to keep spending flat for three years while maintaining the level of services provided to residents, and this budget meets that mandate, despite the inflationary times we are living through.” DiMarco further added, “I am extremely pleased that this Board will cut the county tax rate for the third year in a row”.
County Administrator Chad M. Bruner, in presenting the budget recommendation to the Board, remarked that it was the result of five months of analysis and review from all County-related departments and constitutional officers. Bruner commented that keeping the budget flat “did have its challenges this year, as all New Jersey governmental agencies were hit with significant increased expenditures that were outside of our control.”
Among the challenges, Bruner specifically noted the 15.68% increase for the State Health Benefits Plan, resulting in a cost increase for the County of $3.6 million and a 15.21% increase in State Pension allocation, which translates to a cost increase of approximately $2 million. Both of these increases were well above what was anticipated.
The budget presentation details the ways in which the Administration was able to hold spending flat despite these external challenges. These include reducing the size of government, a trend that the County has been committed to since 2008 and has been able to achieve largely through attrition, implementing public-private partnerships to ensure effective and cost-efficient delivery of services, and utilizing contracted services and temporary employees to maximize flexibility.
Despite the flat budget, Director DiMarco emphasized that, “Administration and this Board will honor its commitment to not lay off employees and to maintain all collective bargaining agreements in their current form.”
The budget presentation from the March 15th meeting is available here.