The essential services provided by county government are those that either can not appropriately be provided by the state or are beyond the scope or ability of local governments.
County government responsibilities are divided into two distinct types: functions the county must perform as mandated by the state, and permissive functions the county may carry out in compliance with state law.
The mandatory areas of responsibility are the courts, law enforcement and the operation of a county jail; general assistance or welfare; education; the construction and maintenance of county roads and bridges; and conducting elections.
In addition to required services, Morris County government provides a variety of programs and services which benefit the entire county. County-level management and delivery of these services provides significant cost savings and efficiencies over duplicative services from municipality to municipality. This saves taxpayer dollars, while enhancing the quality of life for those living and working here. These services include an extensive county park system; a county library; a county nursing home and healthcare center; training for police, fire and other emergency services personnel; solid waste management and recycling; mosquito control; job training and retraining; a county bus system; a transportation program for senior citizens and persons with disabilities; a flood mitigation program; an office for veterans affairs; and a nutrition program for senior citizens, to list just a few.
The county government’s major source of revenue is the county property tax. The county tax rate is based on the total equalized value of all property in the county. A voter-approved tax dedicated to funding the preservation of open space, farmland and historic sites is also included in the county budget, as are federal and state grants the county may receive to administer various programs.