Monmouth County Passes $487 Million Dollar Budget
The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders approved a $487 million dollar budget for 2012.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of the budget during their March meeting which was held in Middletown. One of the stops on their “tour” of Monmouth County this spring and summer.
The nearly half a billion dollar a budget was 4.1 million dollars lower than the 491 million dollar budget which was presented last years.
Freeholder Director John Curley spearheaded the multi million dollar cuts, he notes one of the things he is most proud of with this year’s budget is that he managed to cut spending while retaining jobs.
“We’ve actually reduced the size of government overall by outsourcing for example the bridge tenders, the youth detention center in Monmouth County, we have fewer people on unemployment insurance which is magnificent.” Says Curley.
Curley adds, “the goal of the County is to consolidate where we can, to utilize part time employees where we can, and to outsource. So that we’re no longer putting people on the payroll with large benefit packages.”
Additionally Monmouth County hired a consultant for their county insurance policy, saving them a million dollars, as well as expanding their shared services program. Curley says the goal was not to bond, and he states the county did not bond in 2011.
He notes there were no major reductions in services with the exception of a 6 million dollar cut to Brookdale County College.
“They have an extremely large reserve or surplus and they’ve been able to use a very small part of that.”
The operation of two nursing homes, John L. Montgomery and Geraldine Thompson, which have been operating at a loss are being kept open.
Freeholder Curley said he voted against the decision, citing that the 3.2 million dollar annual loss is a “bleed”, however the remainder of the board decided to keep the facilities open.
“I don’t believe the government should be in the nursing home businesses.” Said Curley.
He explained that with the lowering costs of Medicaid payments it has become increasingly difficult to keep the facilities open, however the Board’s decision will try to keep the facilities open and if possible try to return them into the black or turn them profitable via a marketing campaign designed to fill all of the beds.
Director Curley says both facilities will be run like a business.
“They were not run like a business, they were run like a charity and allowed to run into a deficit.,” noting the Board will make a full review of both facilities in 18 months.