By ROBERT LINNEHAN
Burlington County taxpayers received some good news this week, as Burlington County Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio presented a $216.9 million budget for the year 2011 that reduces the county tax levy by $5,922,090.
This is the fourth year in a row that the tax levy has been cut. The budget was introduced on Wednesday, May 4.
The budget, which calls for spending cuts in more than a dozen departments, reduces spending by $4.3 million, and also lowers the county property tax rate from 30.99-cents per $100 of equalized valuations to 30.96-cents. According to county freeholders, this is the 21st year in a row the tax rate has been reduced.
“These multi-million dollar decreases come at a time when County taxpayers need it most,” Garganio said. “This is reflective of all the cuts and consolidations that have been made, and frankly, we’re not done yet. Rest assured that all the county’s core programs and services remain in place.”
The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8.
The total tax levy is about $12.4 million less than the maximum allowable amount designated by the state.
“The cumulative total of tax and spending cuts over the last four years should send a strong message that we are serious about reining in the cost of government. We realize we have an obligation to our residents who are still struggling to find employment and pay the rent or mortgage,” Garganio said.
To cut costs, Garganio said that more than 300 staff positions have been eliminated since January 2008, and 165 vehicles from a county fleet of more than 650 have been taken out of service.