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Morris County Earns AAA Financial Ratings for 49th Consecutive Year

May 30, 2024

Morris County, NJ

Moody’s and S&P’s Uphold Premium Assessments

Morris County’s financial stability again has been given the highest confidence ranking by Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, both of which issued their AAA ratings of the county finances for the 49th consecutive year.

“The AAA issuer rating reflects the county’s strong and diverse economy, very high wealth and resident income, healthy reserve levels, and exceptionally strong, proactive financial management,” Moody’s concluded in an analysis released May 23.

“Morris County has maintained a triple-A rating for almost half a century. This is the highest rating assigned and saves everyone money by allowing our towns, schools and county to borrow funds for integral community projects at competitive rates. It is very much like a personal credit score, and all county taxpayers reap the rewards,” said Deborah Smith, chair, Morris County Board of County Commissioners Budget Committee. “When the county needs to borrow funding for important infrastructure projects for our community, taxpayers are spared hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest fees, which translates to tax savings for everyone.”

S&P’s May 24 summary also confirmed a positive outlook.

“The county has consistently maintained positive finances during the past three fiscal years because of management’s conservative budgeting,” concluded S&P’s summary.

S&P: Morris County’s ranking higher than federal government.

“Morris County is eligible for a rating higher than the sovereign because we think the county can maintain strong credit characteristics relative to the nation in a stress scenario. … The county has predominantly locally derived revenue with independent taxing authority and treasury management from the federal government,” S&P reported.

The AAA ratings benefit everyone in Morris County

The annual ratings assignment for 2024 involved a review of approximately $37.1 million in General Obligation Bonds being issued by the county, consisting of $30.2 million in general improvement, $2.7 million in parks and $4.2 million in bonds for the County College of Morris.

Moody’s Findings on Morris County’s Credit Strength

  • Strong and stable finances
  • Large, diverse and wealthy economy with stable employer presence
  • Exceptionally strong, proactive financial management

Summary of S&P’s Findings on Morris County

  • Very strong local economy
  • Historically stable budgetary performance that has resulted in continued reserve improvement due to conservative budgeting, supported by a strong revenue base
  • Very strong management with strong financial-management practices, policies Highlights include:
  • long-term formal financial and capital-improvement plans
  • formal investment and debt-management policies
  • reserve policy that limits unreserved fund balance to no less than 12% of expenditures

The Moody’s and S&P outlook for the coming term is also stable, reflecting the expectation that the county will maintain a strong financial position and continue to benefit from its growing economy.

Morris County Correctional Facility Earns “Top-Notch” Rating

May 24, 2024

Morris County, NJ

American Correctional Association Recognizes Excellence Across All Standards

The Morris County Correctional Facility (MCCF) stands out as among the best, said assessors from the America Correctional Association (ACA), which reported the lock-up to be 100% compliant with both mandatory and non-mandatory standards.

An ACA review was conducted last week by two out-of-state independent correctional professionals, Kyle Poppert and Marmie Schuster-Walker, who indicated that the MCCF stands out among the best facilities and finished at the top in every category audited. For that the MCCF was issued a 100% compliance in all areas, which isn’t common with these audits. Poppert has conducted over 200 audits since 2006.

“First and foremost, I appreciate the hospitality of the staff at this agency. They made me feel like a member of their team. It takes courage to bring outsiders in and look at your operation, but this was an easy one. This is a very squared away operation,” said Poppert during an exit interview.

“Every inmate we spoke to stated that this is the best facility they have ever been to. They are treated with dignity and respect, and raved not only about the sworn staff, but applauded the medical staff,” said Schuster-Walker. “I would have loved to work here. There is no finer place, from what I have seen in all my years, that is better than this. From the staff to the living and working conditions, this is a top-notch operation.”

Schuster-Walker also relayed how one inmate told her his arrival at the facility was lifesaving.

“This facility saved my life. I was cleared for incarceration by a local hospital, but when I got here, I began to go downhill fast. Both sworn and medical staff acted fast and sent me back out for emergency care. If it wasn’t for them, I would have died,” the inmate said, according to Schuster-Walker.

There are plans for the official recognition of reaccreditation to be conferred and awarded in January 2025 at the Orlando ACA Conference. Staff from the MCCF will attend the conference, where they will receive the reaccreditation award from a panel of ACA corrections professionals.

“To open your doors and allow somebody to kick the tires takes courage. I commend all of you. Oftentimes, the only role model an inmate has is you. You are their mentor. You may not remember all the inmates that you have dealt with, but I assure you they will absolutely remember you,” said Sheriff James Gannon, commending everyone on a job well done.

Veterans and Fallen Honored at Annual Memorial Day Event

May 22, 2024

Morris County, NJ

Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medals Presented to 13 Veterans

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners presented Distinguished Military Service Medals to 13 veterans at the Morris County Annual Memorial Day Observance ceremony outside the historic county courthouse in Morristown today.

State legislators and Congressional office representatives also delivered honors to the veterans whose service ranged from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“My father, a World War II vet, and my father-in-law, a Vietnam Vet, spoke very little of their time in combat to spare us what they had to endure, so I can only imagine the suffering of those who lost their lives in battle and those of you being honored today. While Memorial Day is a time to reflect on those who fell in battle, it also serves as an opportunity for us to be thankful for those who bravely served and returned home to us. We need you. We need your wisdom, especially in these troubled times,” said Commissioner Director Christine Myers.

Watch the Full Morris County Memorial Day Ceremony Video

Sen. Anthony Bucco and Asw. Aura Dunn presented Joint Senate-Assembly Resolutions to each veteran. Kellie Doucette, representing U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill and Nicholas Henry, representing U.S. Rep. Tom Kean, Jr., presented Certificates of Honor from their offices.  

Check Out Photos of the Ceremony

The keynote address of the ceremony was delivered by U.S. Army Veteran Derek Oates, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 to 2006. He spoke of the importance of soldiers returning from conflict finding strong support at home.

“We owe a debt of gratitude not only to them, but to every soldier across the generations of conflict. The ultimate tribute we can pay those who lost their lives during combat is to support those who are still with us today,” said Oates, reflecting on his post-war experience as a disabled veteran. “Upon my return from service I struggled making the transition into civilian life. One of the only reasons I am here with you today, while many of my brothers and sisters are not, is because of the support I received.”

Oates, inspired by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation from Seton Hall Prep in 2002. He deployed to Baghdad with the 82nd Airborne in 2004. During many convoys, he operated as a gunner on top of Humvees, handling weapons like the 50-cal and MK-19. He was injured during those enemy incursions.

SPC. Oates received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Iraq Campaign Medal.

Upon returning from active duty, Oates trained cadets at West Point and participated in the Helmets to Hardhats program, becoming a Union carpenter and dock-builder. He now owns Roofing Innovations, a veteran-employing construction company in East Hanover.

Morris County Prioritizes Veterans’ Support

Following this year’s Memorial Day Observance, Veterans Tom Mazzaccaro and Emerson Crooks of the Advisory Council on Aging Disabilities & Veterans (ACDAV) and Christine Hellyer, Director of the Office of Aging, Disabilities and Community Programming joined the Commissioners at their public meeting to provide updates on the Morris County Commissioners’ expansion of veterans services.

“Over the past two years, Morris County has expanded its Veteran Services Office. The office is currently in the process of hiring a fourth full-time Veterans Services Officer and a seasonal intern will start in June,” said Commissioner John Krickus, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “In 2022, Morris County allocated $350,000 to veteran services, and last year contributed an additional $300,000 to address the growing demand for mental health, shelter placement, transportation services, meal assistance, counseling, legal services and other veteran services currently being provided by the Morris County Human Services Department.”

Director Hellyer noted a new federal Veteran Center Community Access Point (CAP) opened on May 2 at the Morris County Veteran Services Office located at 540 West Hanover Avenue in Morris Township. Morris County volunteered to share and improve space at the county VSO to host the VA CAP.

Services are provided every Thursday by appointment by two Veteran Affairs (VA) counselors from the federal Bloomfield Vet Center. Veterans who wish to make an appointment should call the Bloomfield Vet Center at 973-748-0980.

“A Look Back on a Morris County Hero”

Morris County does not forget its heroes, especially those who have fallen in combat in service to the United States and as a result, the county has made it a tradition to recognize at least one by name at the Memorial Day Observance ceremony.

This year the county looked back on Private William Hedges Baker, who died in World War I.

“He had a promising life and career in front of him when he left college on May 2, 1918 to enlist at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia, where he was attached to the 26th Infantry. On July 20 of that year, less than three months after he joined the Army, Private Baker was shot dead by a German sharpshooter while attempting to retrieve injured comrades on the battlefield at Plouisy, France.  He was only 22 years old,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Stephen Shaw in leading the tribute.

Private Baker was originally buried in France, but he was returned home to Dover on May 10, 1921 for burial in the Orchard Street Cemetery, where his marker remains today.  Many members of the American Legion Post 27 in Dover, named in honor of William Hedges Baker, attended his funeral, and on Memorial Day that year, a platoon of Marines fired three volleys over his grave. Private Baker was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, one of this nation’s highest military honors, and his name is memorialized on the “Dough Boy” World War I monument that continues to grace Dover’s Hurd Park.

The Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medals are unique to the county and were first issued in 1999 to honor World War II veterans on the 55th Anniversary of the 1944 D-Day Invasion and the liberation of France from the Nazi occupation. They were later expanded to honor service in Vietnam, Korea and general service in the U.S. military during other conflicts. In 2022 Morris County unveiled medals for Iraq and Afghanistan. These awards are presented to veterans who served honorably to help make the nation and Morris County a better place to live.

See Details of All the Honored Veterans & Their Biographies

The veterans honored on May 22, 2024, included:

Peter L. Cullen, Dover
Kimberly Dean, Chester Township
Anthony T. Donadio, Jr., Randolph Township (posthumous)
Fabio A. Escobar, Randolph Township
Wayne F. Henderson, Madison
Elihu W. Kaufman, Long Hill Township
Bill Lee, Roxbury Township
Susan Eno Foelsch-Maher, Chatham Borough
Robert J. McDonnell, Lincoln Park
Mateo Osorio, Madison
Frank Rigillo, East Hanover
Robert W. Smith, Florham Park (posthumous)
Brian Stanislaus, Mount Olive

In other Morris County Veteran news, NJ SOS Veterans Stakeholders will host a meeting on Wednesday, June 5 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Morris County Veterans Services Office, 540 West Hanover Avenue, Morris Township. All Morris County veterans and service providers are welcome. This is a great networking opportunity to share information about your services. Light snacks and refreshments will be available. Please RSVP by emailing [email protected] or calling 973-326-7847.

Morris County Observes 43rd National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

April 26, 2024

Morris County, NJ

Prosecutor’s Office Hosts Recognition and Remembrance Event

In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2024, law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders joined the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) this week to raise awareness and highlight progress in laws and services for victims and their families.

View Photos from the MCPO’s 2024 Crime Victims’ Rights Week Event

The keynote speaker was Chief of Police David Kullgren, Newtown, Connecticut, who served as the staff commander leading the response to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

“In observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week, it’s crucial that we, as leaders, reaffirm our commitment to the safety and well-being of our communities,” Kullgren said. “This starts with empowering our staff with the necessary training and resources to uphold the highest standards of performance. By equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need, we not only enhance their ability to serve effectively but also show our unwavering dedication to supporting victims and preventing further harm.”

Sheriff James M. Gannon also participated as a guest speaker at the annual event, which was held in the Morris County Administration & Records Building in Morristown. Morris County Commissioner Director Christine Myers presented a proclamation to Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, recognizing April 21 to April 27 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

“Rising crime leaves us all scarred and undermines our confidence in the justice system,” Commissioner Director Myers said. “It’s during weeks like this that we can focus on the progress made for victims and their families. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated people here today who support victims of crime.”

Following this year’s theme, “How Would You Help? Options, Services, and Hope for Crime Survivors,” the MCPO Victim/Witness Advocate team launched an awareness campaign to highlight the services available to the public. Bookmarks, designed in partnership with the Mail Library Alliance, were distributed throughout Morris County.

The MCPO has been a leader in victims’ advocacy for many years, establishing the Morris County Office of Victim/Witness Advocacy in 1982.

“The Prosecutor’s Office strives to make justice for victims a priority,” said Prosecutor Carroll. “The Victim/Witness Unit helps victims understand their rights, guides them throughout the criminal justice process and connects them with supportive services.”

The Hope Hub/Community Connections programs, operating through the sheriff’s office, were highlighted as resources to aid victims through difficult times.

Sheriff Gannon, a former Morris County homicide investigator, concluded the event with a quote from an article in The Star-Ledger, dated Oct. 28, 2008: “James Gannon, a retired Morris County homicide investigator, has this veteran-cop idiosyncrasy. He calls cases by the victims’ names.”

Gannon emphasized the focus of Crime Victims’ Rights Week: “It’s not about the offender; it’s about the innocent victims of crime. That’s something that was taught to me. In this line of work, you see the worst and best of humanity. In many cases, particularly homicide cases, the best we can hope for is justice and loss. There’s no victory, there’s no high fiving—just justice and loss.”

April Recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 16, 2024

Community Ambassadors Honored at Commissioners Meeting

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners declared April 2024 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month at a meeting last week, when Commissioners Director Christine Myers presented a framed proclamation to members of Atlantic Health System’s Behavioral Health Team for their work to provide outreach and support to victims through the Morris County Sexual Assault Center. 

“More than half of all women and nearly one-third of all men in America have experienced sexual violence according to statistics released this year by the White House,” said Myers. “And let’s not forget about the children who are victimized and who many times are nameless. It can happen anywhere, to anyone, and the trauma is life-changing for victims. National Sexual Assault Awareness Month serves as a critical reminder that sexual assault is a serious societal issue that requires collective action and commitment to create a safer world where everyone can feel protected.”

Kerri Bossardet-West, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Manager of Atlantic Behavioral Health, and Sherry Aitchinson, Licensed Professional Counselor of the Morris County Sexual Assault Center at Atlantic Behavioral Health, accepted the proclamation.

“We want to thank the Commissioners for once again acknowledging Sexual Assault and Prevention Awareness Month,” said Aitchinson. “And to let people know that we are here, and we are available. Our hotline is open 24/7; we don’t want victims to suffer in silence. This is a free service in Morris County, and we want everyone to spread the word.” 

Sexual abuse can happen almost anywhere, whether at work, home, school, other public places—or even online—to virtually anyone, regardless of geography, race, age, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic and social background. The trauma of sexual abuse is life-changing for victims and can lead to depression, anxiety, PTSD, among other physical and emotional impacts.

“We have seen an increase in sexual violence after the pandemic, so your support for the Morris County Sexual Assault Center under Atlantic Health System is very important,” said Bossardet-West. “Thank you for getting the word out that we are here to serve the victims of sexual assault.”

Members of the Morris County Sexual Assault Center will be at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum on Wednesday, April 17 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for an outreach event featuring speakers, community resources, music, food trucks and more. Learn more about the event here.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, please call the Atlantic Behavioral Health Sexual Assault Program Hotline: 973-829-0587. Confidential support and crisis counseling provided by a professional therapist are available around the clock, every day.

Advocates, certified forensic nurses and specially trained law enforcement investigators of Atlantic Health’s Sexual Assault Response Team are available to address the medical, emotional and legal needs of survivors 13 years of age and up who are in acute crisis and have been sexually assaulted within a five-day period.

Please visit the Atlantic Behavioral Health website for more information on the Morris County Sexual Assault Center.

Morris County Park Commission Receives Prestigious Award

April 11, 2024

Morris County, NJ

Seward Johnson Exhibition at Willowwood Arboretum Cited for Excellence

The Morris County Park Commission has received the Excellence in Special Events Award from the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association (NJRPA) for “The Living Sculpture: A Seward Johnson Exhibition at Willowwood Arboretum,” a special installation that was open daily to the public from July until November last year.

“Congratulations to the Morris County Park Commission on receiving the distinguished award from the NJRPA. This certainly was a unique exhibit featured at the Willowwood Arboretum and I know a lot of work went into coordinating it. Everyone involved in putting this special project together for the public deserves to be applauded,” said Morris County Commissioner Doug Cabana, liaison to the Morris County Parks Commission.

Johnson, known for his life sized and large-scale bronze sculptures that depict everyday life, was born in New Jersey in 1930. He founded the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in 1974 and The Grounds for Sculpture Park and Museum in 1992, both in Hamilton, N.J.

The sculptures had been previously exhibited in downtown business areas, but the exhibit at Willowwood Arboretum placed the sculptures in bucolic outdoor surroundings similar to The Grounds for Sculpture Park.

“The goal of Morris County’s ‘The Living Sculpture: A Seward Johnson Exhibition’ was to bring art to the average citizen. Although the Johnson sculptures are available for regular public exhibits through the Johnson Atelier, it is somewhat unusual for a park system to be able to provide such access,” said David Guida, an NJRPA Awards Committee Member. “Johnson’s vision is to make sculpture accessible to all; how fitting that the Willowwood Arboretum exhibit was able to do just that.”

The award was formally presented this past Tuesday to the Morris County Park Commission during a meeting at the Morris County Cultural Center in Morris Township. Guida initially presented the award on Feb. 27 to Commission Assistant Deputy Director Denise Lanza during the NJRPA Annual Awards Dinner in Atlantic City.

“Parks have an essential purpose in bringing communities together,” said Lanza. “That we could exhibit Johnson’s artwork in a natural setting and make it available for the public to enjoy is a testament to that objective.”

The exhibit was on loan from the Johnson Atelier and the loan fee for the sculptures was covered by the Alliance for Morris County Parks through grants and sponsorships, and included funds from the Park Commission’s Tubbs Trust, and the Willowwood Foundation.

The Morris County Park Commission maintains more than 20,455 acres of parkland, the largest county park system in the state, which includes 253 miles of trails and 38 special facilities, from an ice-skating arena and arboreta to a variety of conservation, educational and recreational amenities. More than 4 million people visit Morris County parks and facilities each year to experience nature and a variety of award-winning programs, special events and activities for all ages.

For more information about the Morris County parks and upcoming events activities, visit morrisparks.net.

The NJRPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting parks and recreation. The purpose of the NJRPA Awards Program is to honor and identify dedicated leaders, employees and volunteers in the field of Parks and Recreation, and to recognize the state’s outstanding Recreation and Park agencies for excellence in programming.

Morris County Celebrates Women’s History Month 2024

March 28, 2024

Morris County, NJ

Proclamation and 2024 “Seeds of Change” Award Presented

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners closed out Women’s History Month by presenting a framed proclamation to the Morris County Advisory Committee on Women this week, who in turn honored this year’s “Seeds of Change” award recipient.

“Let us recognize the Advisory Committee on Women, which was established by the former Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2004 to promote the interests of women and recommend programs to help meet the needs of women in Morris County,” said Commissioner Director Christine Myers. “On behalf of the County Commissioners, I am honored to present this proclamation of Women’s History Month to your committee and thank you for your volunteerism in the service of all our residents.”

Commissioner Director Myers invited Donna Boyce, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Women, to accept a framed copy of the proclamation, which the board adopted by resolution on March 8. Ms. Boyce then announced the nominee for the Morris County 2024 Seeds of Change Award, which is presented annually to a woman volunteer who has improved the community through her leadership and inspiration to other women in the county.

This year’s recipient, Debby Seme, was chosen for her leadership as president of Impact100 Garden State since 2020. The Morris County-based all-women, all-volunteer organization combines member donations to give $100,000 grants. During Ms. Seme’s tenure, she has led the organization in steady growth in membership and grantmaking despite the economic challenges for donors and nonprofits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Serving as president has provided me with countless opportunities to meet and work with our members, women who are kind and fun and hardworking, and who share my passion for Impact100. As president, I am also able to witness the amazing amount of work that gets done, all by women volunteers, to keep this organization thriving. Receiving this award is truly humbling and inspiring,” said Seme.

Over the years, Impact100 Garden State grants have supported many residents throughout the county, including those served by Cornerstone Family Programs, the County College of Morris Foundation, Family Promise of Morris County, Head Start Morris County, Homeless Solutions, Interfaith Food Pantry Network, Roots & Wings and Zufall Health. Impact100 Garden State had a record 375 members and granted $375,000 to local nonprofits in 2023.

In total, Impact100 Garden State has donated more than $3 million since 2013.

The “Seeds of Change” Volunteer Award was inspired by the late Sen. Leanna Brown, who passed in 2016. The honor is intended to highlight and celebrate women who build up other women, including those who volunteer at the grassroots level in the community. This is the fifth “Seeds of Change Award” to be issued since 2018.

The Advisory Committee on Women was established by the former Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2004 to promote the interests of women and recommend programs to help meet the needs of women in Morris County.

No tax rate increase in Morris County budget for 5th consecutive year

March 14, 2024

WRNJ Radio

By Jay Edwards

Budget Structurally Balanced; 8.8% Ratable Growth Offsets Costs

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The Morris County Board of County Commissioners tonight introduced their 2024 Budget with no increase in the tax rate for a fifth consecutive year, due to another year of growing ratables and prudent fiscal management to overcome rising costs.

“Despite state mandates driving up costs and hikes in expenses that are out of our control, such as health care costs, Morris County is again introducing a thoughtful, fiscally responsible budget. It addresses our obligation as County Commissioners to provide the services our residents require and deserve. It makes the investments necessary to keep Morris County the premier county in New Jersey, and yet it still enables us to keep the tax rate flat,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith, Chair of the Commissioners’ Budget Committee.

The proposed $365.3 million spending plan was presented to the full board by the Budget Committee, including Commissioners Doug Cabana and John Krickus. The plan continues to prioritize investments in public safety, infrastructure, education and economic development, and expands services to veterans.

Highlights in the budget include:

  • A combined $77.8 million towards public safety.
  • More than $24 million to support education, including career training at the County College of Morris and the Morris County Vocational School District.
  • A record $900,000 invested in Economic Development and Tourism, with $100,000 for planning Morris County’s celebration of the American Revolution.
  • $9 million to support the Morris County Park Commission, stewards of the largest county park system in New Jersey (20,455 acres of parkland)
  • Adding $300,000 to homeless services provided by the Office of Temporary Assistance, with a total of $38.1 million for Human Services and Health Services.

“Public safety remains a paramount interest.  The 2024 Budget provides strong funding to our Sheriff’s Department, his Patrol Division, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and our Department of Law & Public Safety,” said Commissioner Krickus, noting public safety spending is being increased by more than $3 million.

Prudent fiscal management and an 8.8 percent increase in ratables also helped Morris County to address growing expenses forced by mounting state mandates on operations at the Morris County Clerk’s Office and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Our 2024 Budget also continues the Preservation Trust Fund investments that bolster the quality of life here and attract the people and businesses making Morris County the premier place to live, work and raise a family,” said Commissioner Krickus. “To date, we have invested $169 million in farmland preservation, $295 million in open space preservation, $50 million into historic preservation, $100 million into flood mitigation and $5 million in trail design and construction.”

The budget also focuses on the needs of veterans and families facing homelessness.

“We continue to expand our commitment to our veterans by funding a fourth Veterans Service Officer and a seasonal intern. We also are expanding our services to the growing homeless population,” said Commissioner Doug Cabana.

“We certainly are grateful to have nonprofit partners helping us to address the needs of our neighbors who find themselves seeking shelter. But it should be understood by everyone that the Morris County’s Human Services Department and its Office of Temporary Assistance serve the majority of our homeless population — and the most troubled individuals found in that population,” Cabana said.

The 2024 Budget doubles to $300,000 a line item in emergency assistance funding to shelter and support people experiencing homelessness. The budget also allocates another $150,000 toward funding allocated to prevent people from becoming homeless.

The introduced 2024 Budget also includes the 2024 Capital Spending Plan initially presented in December, putting nearly $35 million toward many projects, among them road resurfacing, improving intersections replacing bridges in the county and maintaining county facilities.

The Morris County Commissioners will consider adoption of the 2024 Budget at their Wednesday, April 10 public meeting.

Morris Commissioners say their proposed $365M budget holds taxes steady for fifth year

March 13, 2024

Morristown Green

From the Morris County Commissioners:

No Tax Rate Increase in Morris County Budget for 5th Consecutive Year

Budget Structurally Balanced; 8.8 Percent Ratable Growth Offsets Costs

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday introduced their 2024 Budget with no increase in the tax rate for a fifth consecutive year, due to another year of growing ratables and prudent fiscal management to overcome rising costs.

“Despite state mandates driving up costs and hikes in expenses that are out of our control, such as health care costs, Morris County is again introducing a thoughtful, fiscally responsible budget. It addresses our obligation as County Commissioners to provide the services our residents require and deserve. It makes the investments necessary to keep Morris County the premier county in New Jersey, and yet it still enables us to keep the tax rate flat,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith, chair of the Commissioners’ Budget Committee.

The proposed $365.3 million spending plan was presented to the full board by the Budget Committee, including Commissioners Doug Cabana and John Krickus. The plan continues to prioritize investments in public safety, infrastructure, education and economic development, and expands services to veterans.

Highlights in the budget include:

  • A combined $77.8 million towards public safety.
  • More than $24 million to support education, including career training at the County College of Morris and the Morris County Vocational School District.
  • A record $900,000 invested in Economic Development and Tourism, with $100,000 for planning Morris County’s celebration of the American Revolution.
  • $9 million to support the Morris County Park Commission, stewards of the largest county park system in New Jersey (20,455 acres of parkland)
  • Adding $300,000 to homeless services provided by the Office of Temporary Assistance, with a total of $38.1 million for Human Services and Health Services.

View the Budget Presentation

“Public safety remains a paramount interest. The 2024 Budget provides strong funding to our Sheriff’s Department, his Patrol Division, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and our Department of Law & Public Safety,” said Commissioner Krickus, noting public safety spending is being increased by more than $3 million.

Prudent fiscal management and an 8.8 percent increase in ratables also helped Morris County to address growing expenses forced by mounting state mandates on operations at the Morris County Clerk’s Office and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Our 2024 Budget also continues the Preservation Trust Fund investments that bolster the quality of life here and attract the people and businesses making Morris County the premier place to live, work and raise a family,” said Commissioner Krickus.

“To date, we have invested $169 million in farmland preservation, $295 million in open space preservation, $50 million into historic preservation, $100 million into flood mitigation and $5 million in trail design and construction.”

The budget also focuses on the needs of veterans and families facing homelessness.

“We continue to expand our commitment to our veterans by funding a fourth Veterans Service Officer and a seasonal intern. We also are expanding our services to the growing homeless population,” said Commissioner Doug Cabana.

“We certainly are grateful to have nonprofit partners helping us to address the needs of our neighbors who find themselves seeking shelter. But it should be understood by everyone that the Morris County’s Human Services Department and its Office of Temporary Assistance serve the majority of our homeless population — and the most troubled individuals found in that population,” added Commissioner Cabana.

The 2024 Budget doubles to $300,000 a line item in emergency assistance funding to shelter and support people experiencing homelessness. The budget also allocates another $150,000 toward funding allocated to prevent people from becoming homeless.

The introduced 2024 Budget also includes the 2024 Capital Spending Plan initially presented in December, putting nearly $35 million toward many projects, among them road resurfacing, improving intersections replacing bridges in the county and maintaining county facilities.

The Morris County Commissioners will consider adoption of the 2024 Budget at their Wednesday, April 10, 2024, public meeting.

Commissioners Support an “Evening of Unity for Israel”

January 31, 2024

Morris County, NJ

IDF Paratrooper Honored at Chabad Center in Randolph

Morris County Commissioner Deborah Smith visited the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Randolph on Sunday for an “Evening of Unity for Israel,” during which she presented a Resolution of Honor to an Israel Defense Forces paratrooper, Sergeant Major Noam Buskila, who has been on the front lines of battle in Israel.

“On this day, January 28, 2024, Sergeant Major Noam Buskila is being honored by the Morris County Board of County Commissioners for his heroic service as a paratrooper in the IDF. He has actively participated in the defense of Israel against terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah. Morris County applauds Sergeant Major Noam Buskila and prays for his safety in future missions defending the people of Israel,” said Commissioner Smith.

Guests were treated to a musical performance by Sgt. Major Buskila, who is also a talented singer and songwriter. A portion of the proceeds from the event were donated to Israel.

Commissioner Smith thanks Rabbi Avraham Bekhor for the invitation to the special evening that included Sheriff James Gannon, former State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, State Senator Anthony Bucco, Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, Randolph Mayor Christine Carey and Randolph Councilmembers Mark Forstenhausler, Joe Hathaway, Lou Nisivoccia and Marie Potter.

The County Commissioners publicly declared their support for Israel during an October 11 Commissioner public meeting and several subsequent community gatherings.

The Jewish community has shaped Morris County’s history for more than 150 years. Jewish settlers began arriving in Morris County as far back as the Civil War. These early Jews settled in Morristown, a market town, Dover, a Morris Canal stop that grew around the area’s early iron industry, and the farming communities of Pine Brook in Montville and Mount Freedom in Randolph.