Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A Tax Cut is Proposed in Warren County 2022 Budget

PRESS RELEASE (February 24, 2022) – Warren County’s $99.5 million budget, which would reduce the tax rate by 2 cents, was introduced Wednesday night by the Warren County Board of County Commissioners.

“The County Commissioners consider it one of our greatest duties to show responsibility with the taxes provided by the residents of Warren County, and this budget reflects that once again,” said Commissioner Director Jason J. Sarnoski.

The Open Space Fund will see an additional $190,000 in available funds while an extra $265,000 will be available in the Library fund, in both cases due to the reduction of debt payments and an increase in ratables. Rates for both of these dedicated tax will remain flat ensuring a majority of Warren County property owners see a reduction in 2022 county taxes.

“Warren County government has once again shown that it is committed to the taxpayers. While runaway spending is rampant in Trenton and Washington, here we live within our means,” remarked Commissioner James R. Kern III.

“Our department heads have done a great job putting together budgets and consistently holding the line where it needs to be,” Sarnoski noted.

The Cyber Unit of the county Prosecutor’s Office will receive an additional $55,412 in funding to protect the children of Warren County from adult predators. The increase would exceed the budget cap but would allow for enhanced response times, conducting forensic investigations in the field, and assisting other counties and law enforcement agencies with investigations.

“I‘d like to thank everyone for all the hard work and the efforts, and extending to us the opportunity to establish our Cyber Unit. In these times it’s absolutely imperative to have this manpower to be able to move forward,” Prosecutor James Pfeiffer said during the budget introduction.

After a 60 percent increase in the unit’s workload since 2015 and increased cyber tips from the National Center regarding missing and exploited children in the last three years, additional personnel is needed to lessen child endangerment, the prosecutor said.

The county continues to have a strong Capital Program – allocating $8.2 million for capital projects – while still operating with the “Pay-As-You-Go” philosophy. Along with the $3.4 million from the American Rescue Plan funds intended for county roads, 911 technology and county building upgrades, Warren County residents can count on expanding services while keeping existing programs alive.

“We will be able to continue on with our ambitious land preservation goals, as well as road improvements, and we will be able to do all of this plus more with a tax cut to the taxpayers of Warren County,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Lori Ciesla.

Warren County continues to deal with the lasting financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to high inflation and supply chain issues, the county’s surplus funds, which earned $1.3 million in 2019, expects to earn less due to declining interest rates.

“We have seen the cost of supplies, commodities, fuel and energy increase significantly, and must increase those budget areas to keep up with that inflation,” Sarnoski remarked.

Kern added he is grateful for the work of all the department heads and county employees who treat each dollar the county spends with respect.

“The outlook for Warren County remains strong and we will continue on this path with fiscally responsible budgets,” Kern said.

A public hearing on the County Operating, Open Space and County Library budgets and the Tax Resolution is scheduled for Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, Wayne Dumont Jr. Administration Building, 165 County Road 519, Belvidere (White Township), NJ. Comments on the Budget and Tax Resolution for the year 2022 may be presented by taxpayers and other interested persons.

The budget is available for public review both in the office of the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners in the Dumont building, and online at www.warrencountynj.gov/government/finance/budget.

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