By: Follow South Jersey Staff
MAYS LANDING, N.J. — Due to several unknown costs related to COVID-19, the executive budget presentation that has traditionally been presented in January, has been postponed to February to provide a more accurate financial snapshot for 2021, the county announced.
“While our fiscal team works year-round to monitor costs and prepare for the new budget, COVID-19 has introduced new challenges and unforeseen expenses,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said. “We have drafted a number of budgets based on various scenarios. I could present the numbers we have now, but they will inevitably change. We should have additional information within the next few weeks that will help us confirm our budget figures.”
According to Levinson, the information the county is awaiting includes the certification of the 2020 casino gross gaming revenues and the election costs and budget for the Superintendent of Elections and the Board of Elections.
There is also pending legislation that could have an impact if passed. It would require the availability of voting machines throughout the county 10 days prior to each election (special, primary, general). Additional staff and resources would be needed to meet this requirement.
Another factor is whether there will be additional COVID-19 funding for 2021 that could help offset an estimated $2 million in county costs to provide testing, personal protective equipment, additional medical supplies, vaccinations, contact tracing, mail-in-ballots, cleaning and disinfecting of public buildings, social distancing partitions, secured drop boxes and more.
“Budgets are always complicated, and perhaps none more than this year,” he added. “But rest assured that Atlantic County remains extremely solvent, is maintaining its conservative financial policies, low debt ratio, and pay-as-you-go practices. Atlantic County will continue to be a model of fiscal responsibility and integrity.”
Levinson noted that the county cannot adopt its budget before the governor introduces the state budget that is expected to occur on February 23. With that in mind, Levinson will likely present the 2021 budget to the Board of County Commissioners on February 16 with potential adoption as early as March 16.
- New Jersey Department of Human Services Announces $15 Million in Summer Camp Grants
- Bridgeton Public Schools to Hold Town Hall Event Regarding Reopening
- Gov. Murphy: ‘There’s a Chance’ Schools Won’t Have Mask Mandates for 2021-22 Academic Year
Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to email@example.com with “NEWS” in the subject line.