Morristown Celebrates: 2023 Budget Boosts Public Safety, Infrastructure & Education, Without Raising Taxes
*Updated 3/24/2023 with cover photo update.
Morristown, NJ - The Morris County Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted a 2023 budget last night, with no tax rate increase and expanded funding for public safety, infrastructure, human services, education, and economic development.
“We are proud to adopt a 2023 Budget that continues to encourage the high quality of life consistent with Morris County, while also being sensitive to the financial strain placed on taxpayers amid historic rates of inflation. Strong ratable growth and prudent financial planning made this budget possible. Morris County’s wise planning on healthcare benefits enabled us to have a much lower impact on increasing costs than what other counties experienced with the state health plan. This enables us to provide and increase services such as public safety, while maintaining a flat (tax) rate,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith, Chair of the Board's Budget Committee.
The $343.5 million budget features a $124.3 million Capital Spending Plan, $10.3 million of which is covered by grants, and $85 million dedicated to the new Courthouse project. With those factors considered, the net 2023 Capital Spending Plan for traditional projects is approximately $29 million. This year's fund balance also increased by $2.8 million, reaching $60.7 million, to protect against unforeseen economic changes and maintain the AAA Bond rating Morris County has held for 47 years.
Commissioner Director John Krickus highlighted the importance of the AAA standing, saying it "saves everyone money in both the short and long term because it enables our towns and school districts, as well as the county, to borrow funds for important infrastructure projects at the best possible finance rates"
The 2023 budget allocates $74.6 million to public safety, including full dispatch services to 23 municipalities and daily backup services to local Basic Life Support and Emergency Medical Service units across all 39 Morris County towns.
Commissioner Deputy Director Christine Myers emphasized the importance of the county government's mission-driven financial investments in programs such as Navigating Hope and the Sheriff's Office's Hope One, which tackle substance use and raise awareness about county resources and support.
“The county government is involved in carrying out the mission-driven allocation of financial investments that help target a myriad of programs meeting the diverse needs and challenges of our community. Initiatives like our Navigating Hope program and the Sheriff's Office’s Hope One are combatting issues like substance use while raising awareness about county resources and available support,” Commissioner Deputy Director Christine Myers, a member of the Budget Committee.
Other key investments in the community include $8.9 million for the Morris County Park Commission, over $12 million for the County College of Morris, nearly $6.4 million for the Morris County Vocational School District, and more than $800,000 for Economic Development and Tourism.
The 2023 Capital Spending Plan also earmarks approximately $25.5 million for enhancing road resurfacing, improving intersections, and replacing bridges and culverts across the county. Nearly $8 million in grants will help offset county costs.
Morristown residents can look forward to multiple road resurfacing projects, intersection improvements, and bridge and culvert replacements, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone traversing the county's roads.
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