(Paterson, New Jersey) – On February 13, 2018, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced the 2018 budget with conservative revenue projections, improved reserve levels, and significant investment in infrastructure improvements. The 2018 budget reflects fiscally sound financial policies, strong budgetary flexibility, proactive increases to manage volatile expense line items, including significant reserves for workers’ compensation, health benefits, and liability insurance, and an overall net debt of 1% of market value. Passaic County’s bond rating was upgraded to Aa2 by Moody’s Financial Services, an independent credit rating agency, for its strong management, representing a high quality investment grade. While maintaining conservative budgetary practices and sound fiscal policies, the Budget also represents significant infrastructure investments, public safety initiatives, and human services and veteran assistance programs.
“Every year the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders continue to set the standard for conservative budgetary practices that not only keep taxes stable, but invest in infrastructure improvements, significant upgrades to the Passaic County Park System, and the continued expansion of educational opportunities offered by the Passaic County Technical Institute and Passaic County Community College,” stated Passaic County Freeholder Director Cassandra “Sandi” Lazzara. “The 2018 Passaic County Budget protects taxpayers from unforeseen financial emergencies with increased reserve levels for workers’ compensation, health benefits, and liability insurance, putting the County in strong financial position as we continue to grow our economy and invest in our rich history and bright future.”
The 2018 Passaic County Budget, while keeping the tax levy below the 2% statutory cap, makes critical investments in Passaic County’s future, including:
· Maintaining, repairing, or repaving 533 lane miles of County roads and 350 bridges and culverts;
· The expansion of the Passaic County Park System with the Passaic Riverfront Park Project in the City of Passaic, funded in part by a $5 million dollar grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection;
· The rehabilitation and renovation of the historic John W. Rea House, which is being adaptively repurposed as an arts and cultural center;
· The Weasel Brook Park Phase II Improvement Project, funded in part by a $600,00 Green Acres Grant Program that creates a new community garden and eco-learning center, repaves walkways, and installs historic lighting on pathways; and
· Expansion of the Passaic County Technical Institute with the addition of a STEM Academy that will offer Passaic County students new educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, training our children for the 21st century economy.
“During my tenure as the Budget Committee Chairman, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders reined in spending, implemented new financial policies to protect taxpayers, and continued to make strategic investments in the County’s infrastructure, historic sites, parks, and open space,” stated Budget Committee Chairman Pasquale “Pat” Lepore. “The credit upgrade received by Passaic County in 2017 from Moody’s is third party, independent validation of Passaic County’s strong financial standing and sound budgetary practices.”