Posted Thursday, April 15th, 2010

The Morris County Freeholders adopted a $308 million operating budget for 2010 during the board’s April 14 regular meeting.

The budget reflects a reduction of $2 million in the total county tax levy for the second year in a row, said Freeholder Director Gene F. Feyl.

Feyl, a member of the freeholder budget sub-committee, said the reduction in the tax levy includes the 1-cent cut in the county’s Open Space Tax that was approved by the freeholders in January.

The 2010 budget reflects a gross reduction of 53 county employees through attrition. There were five positions added to the Communication Center, and these will be fully funded by the municipalities being served, bringing the net reduction of county employees to 48.

Freeholder Margaret Nordstrom, who chairs the budget sub-committee, said one of the goals the freeholders had in developing the budget was to minimize the tax levy while maximizing county services to the greatest extent possible.

“We’ve reduced the cost of providing services to county residents rather than reducing the services themselves,” according to Nordstrom, who said the priority areas in the budget included social services, health and public safety and economic development.

Nordstrom said the 2010 spending plan is 2.8 percent higher than last year’s budget, and said it includes funds to provide 700,000 meals under the county nutrition
program, 80,000 rides to senior citizens and the disabled under the county’s MAPS program and to meet the increased requests from those in need of general assistance programs.

The freeholders said shared services agreements with several counties for use of Morris County’s Juvenile Detention Center and the Morris County Youth Shelter will result in approximately $1.13 million in revenue to Morris. The freeholders also said operational efficiencies and revenue enhancements at Morris View Healthcare Center produced a net savings of $2.5 million last year, with additional reductions being pursued in 2010.

The budget is available for viewing on the county government Web site, under Public Documents.