PATERSON, NJ - Passaic County legislators continued to hold the line on fiscal stability as they introduced their 2020 budget Tuesday with no increase to the tax levy. The $438 million dollar budget, officials said in a statement, reflects continued efforts to build on fiscal stability to highlight the county’s rich history and bright future, preserve quality of life for the county’s diverse population by expanding cultural and recreational opportunities, provide critical investments to infrastructure, maintain parks and historic sites, identify shared services, stabilize taxes, reduce debt for future generations, and protect the county’s bond rating.

Freeholder Director Cassandra “Sandi” Lazzara said that the budget shows that county continues to be in a strong financial position through her and her colleague’s fiscal restraint. This was also reflected in October 2019 when Moody’s Investor Services upgraded Passaic County’s credit rating from Aa2 to Aa1, the second highest bond rating available, allowing Passaic County to secure financing at lower interest rates.

“The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders is confident in the county’s financial future onward,” Lazzara said, adding that they anticipate 84% of the County’s debt to be paid off over the next ten years, 

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“This will ensure the preservation of our programs, services and sites, along with building a bright future for generations to come.”

While the State of New Jersey has set a cap of allowable tax increases at 2%, Passaic County has average an increase of 1.76% over the past 10 years, an increase that is reduced to just .46% over the last four budgets.

“We developed a roadmap to reform our government to operate more efficiently, restore a sense of balance to the county’s obligations, and make the county government sustainable for the long run,” Freeholder, and Budget Committee Chairman, Pasquale “Pat” Lepore said. “In this budget introduction, we are seeing the fruits of our labor. Passaic County is in the best financial position in its history,” 

The budget also continues a trend of investing in the Passaic County parks system, county roads and bridges, as well as the future by building financial reserves to historically high levels.

“We are showing Trenton and Washington how to govern responsibly and effectively,” Lepore said.

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