During tonight’s Union County Board of Commissioners meeting it was announced by Commissioner Sergio Granados, who is the Chair for the Fiscal Committee, that there will be a zero percent increase in Union County’s 2022 Budget for the 3rd year in a row.
“I would like to recognize that while it is not easy to always get there – our Union County team were once again able to provide all of the services, programs and help our residents need, while maintaining this zero percent tax increase another year in a row,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “Our residents will always be a top priority for us and I am looking forward to expanding our initiatives for an even better Union County.”
Since the pandemic began, the County of Union has prioritized its efforts to strengthen the safety and services for its residents and this year’s budget continues to reflect those essential services. It was also announced by Commissioner Granados that the County of Union continues to maintain their Aaa credit rating, which is the highest a county government can obtain, further demonstrating their strong fiscal footing.
Some of the essential services that were funded include:
- COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Centers at various locations throughout Union County – including stationary sites, mobile units, pop-up locations, registration and call-in center operations.
- Opening of the new federally certified campus lab in conjunction with Kean University for diagnostic testing and critical public health research during the pandemic.
- Emergency COVID-19 food distributions, which included 45 distribution events throughout Union County, providing over 4.1 million meals to approximately 35,000 households.
- Assisted over 71 families and 257 individuals residing throughout the County who were impacted by Hurricane Ida by providing emergency housing, meals, and support services.
- Thousands of Senior Citizens throughout the County received a variety of cultural, educational, nutritional, medical, health related and recreational programs.
“Still impacted from the effects of the pandemic and Hurricane Ida, residents across our county are still facing various issues such as unemployment and food hardships to needing property tax or rental assistance,” said Commissioner Granados. “As Commissioners, we knew that we needed to keep the tax increase at zero percent to further help our constituents and it was through the vision and advisement of the County Commissioners, as well as the planning & execution by County Manager Ed Oatman, who worked with his Department Heads to ensure we were able to come to this result.”
This budget also funds the Chair’s “Connecting Our Community,” initiatives for 2022, which include technology and infrastructure improvements, mental health and educational programs and upgrades to our parks and recreational facilities.
“Today’s budget is a result of a collaborative effort, the culmination of months of planning, community outreach, and hard work,” said Ed Oatman, County Manager. “I want to thank our Board of County Commissioners for their vision and our Directors for working together in crafting this budget. We will continue the progress we have made, providing a high quality of life for all residents in Union County.”
In the coming weeks, the County of Union will be holding Special Fiscal Committee Meetings, which will be open to the public. If any resident of Union County would like to attend these meetings and hear about the many things each Department has done as well as new initiatives, they can attend the meetings at the County Administration Building, located at 10 Elizabethtown Plaza in Elizabeth at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16th and Wednesday, March 23rd.
The meetings are between the Fiscal Committee and the County Departments and there will be no public commentary. The purpose of these meetings are to review and craft a final document for passage. Officials will review all of the documents submitted and the budget will be introduced on April 7th. Members of the public will have a chance to speak in regards to the budget on May 12th before it is adopted.