The Edison Blog: Edison, New Jersey

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Middlesex county budget

Posted by edison1205 on January 23, 2010


Earlier this week, the Middlesex County board of freeholders introduced its 2010 budget.  According to Freeholder Director Chris Rafano, the county is looking to have a $408 million budget, up from $392 million last year.  Of the 2009 amount, $297.5 million comes from taxes and the remainder comes from federal and state grants, fees, contracts, interest, and the like.

Apparently, the county has not exactly caught the fever of transparency in government, as we cannot find the actual 2010 budget proposal.  We do, however, have a copy of the 2009 county budget for your review.

In the 2009 budget, we see that the 2 biggest items were debt service / capital expenses / payments on county office buildings ($85.3 million) and “employee fringe benefits” ($57.4 million).  Other large cost centers were the county jail ($23.9 million), the vocational school system ($22.8 million), the sheriff ($17.6 million), the prosecutor’s office ($16.6 million), and the county college ($15.9 million).

The reason debt service is so high is that, well, there is a lot of debt.  At the end of 2008, the county owed various bondholders some $384 million, and was the guarantor for another $220 million.

The cost of employee fringe benefits is also of some concern.  In 2007, employee fringe benefits cost $45.7 million but that figure rose in 2009 to $57.4 million.  That is a 26 percent increase in two years.

Another thing we see is that the total value of unused sick and leave time for county employees was $19.4 million.  As the Edison Township budget comes under review later in the year, keep in mind that for Edison alone — one of 25 municipalities in the county — the amount is $14.5 million.

The freeholder meetings on February 4 and February 25, both at 7 pm in New Brunswick, will be a worthwhile forum to ask questions about these and other matters you may find in the county budget.

Other relevant documents:

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