Just call it "Lean Tuesday". With their announcement on February 24 that property taxes will go down, the Somerset County Freeholders have finally taken the fat out of Mardi Gras!
County Freeholders Robert Zaborowski and Peter Palmer are attempting to fulfill a campaign promise for 5-percent cuts across county departments, and this has largely been accomplished - resulting in an overall budget decrease of 2.63 percent.
So how did they do it? It took reducing appropriations for over 600 line-items, and significantly, not filling 30 vacant positions - a move that saved $1.4 million all by itself.
But essentially it took a conservative approach to fiscal planning - not expanding too rapidly when the money was rolling in so there would be no desperate contraction during a crisis. According to the Freeholders, the budget is designed to ride out a three-year economic downturn.
Budgets aside, what taxpayers in Somerset County care about is the overall tax levy. This too would decrease - by about a million dollars - resulting in a reduced tax rate, and, lower taxes!
Somerset County homeowners could see their wallets expand by about $20 next year.
I wonder how many beaded necklaces you can buy for twenty bucks!