An unanticipated increase in the County’s valuation and thus ratables allowed the Bergen County Freeholders to turn a small planned increase into a small tax cut in the average property taxpayer’s 2017 tax bill when the Board approved the County budget on May 31. For Record reporter Steve Janoski’s coverage click here.
The approval brought to a close an intensive review of virtually every line of County Executive Jim Tedesco’s original budget – a lengthy process carried out with very little public attention but with involvement of the leadership and finance people from almost every County department. BGR reps were typically the only non-County employees tracking/attending the Freeholders’ extensive budget work sessions during the month of April. In fact, surprisingly little public input was provided even during the budget hearing on May 31st. Resident Paul Nichols did, however, express his appreciation for the care taken by County officials with – and increased support of – mental health care and related services.
BGR leaders were particularly attentive to how the County officials would handle the evolving domestic cutbacks proposed by President Trump and now being considered by Congress. Impacts of related state funding approaches were also evaluated. The effects of the state’s change to a fee for service regime in the support of mental health care support was an example. Generally County officials appeared throughout the current 2017 to recognize that the County will – likely in 2018 – have to pick up or replace key programs that protect the County’s most vulnerable residents who the federal government appears poised to leave behind. Freeholder commentary suggested palpable concern about the future impacts in these areas.
The best summary of the County budget introduced by the Freeholders is also the one by Record reporter Steve Janoski click here. The County budget that was actually introduced on April 26 by the Freeholders was about $1M less than what the County Executive had proposed and may be found at click here