For the second year in a row, the Union County Board of Commissioners has passed a budget with a zero percent tax increase.
The 2021 budget was passed at tonight’s meeting and will maintain all essential services. It continues the County’s trend of fiscally responsible budgets, and maintains the County’s bond rating which is the highest attainable.
“I am pleased to announce that we have again adopted a budget with a zero percent tax increase for the second year in a row,” said Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Despite the pandemic that is persisting this year, our fiscal outlook remains strong. We continue to offer our high quality governmental services, and our commitment to assisting our constituents.”
Commissioner Fiscal Committee Chairman Christopher Hudak said: “As we continue to face the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are mindful of its profound impact on all residents. We worked hard with our County Manager and our Finance Director to build a budget that would fund the response to COVID-19, our safety net and normal services.”
Both Mirabella and Hudak thanked their colleagues on the Fiscal Committee for their work in crafting the budget, including Vice Chair Rebecca Williams and Commissioners Sergio Granados, and Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. They also thanked County Manager Ed Oatman, and gave special thanks to Finance Director Bibi Taylor, and her staff for their effort in bringing the budget all together from start to finish.
Finally, both Mirabella and Hudak thanked Union County’s family of directors and employees for their tremendous effort in responding to the pandemic this past year.
- The 2021 budget provides for the County’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts. More than 140,000 residents have been tested since the start. It will also continue to fund the County’s vaccination centers at Kean University, Plainfield, FEMA clinic in Elizabeth and mobile efforts.
- This budget also funds the County’s online vaccination appointment portal system, and call-in center.
- To date, the County has administered over 78,000 doses of vaccinations.
- The budget also helps fund a revolutionary partnership with Kean University, where the county and Kean established a laboratory that is capable of testing residents, processing their samples, gene sequencing for variant strain research–all in coordination with the County’s contact tracing program. This effort is the first of its kind in the entire nation and will also act as a source of revenue for decades to come.
- The budget provides for weekly food distributions (the County has served over 3.6 million meals), and the distribution of more than 100,000 masks throughout Union County to all 21 municipalities.
- This budget also funds the Chairman’s “Union County Rising” initiatives for 2021, which include public safety improvements, support for businesses, the LGBTQ community, upgrades to parks and recreation facilities, and support for recreational programming.