Union / Morris Budget Comparison – 2013

“Anyone who follows municipal finance knows that budgets can sometimes be a work of fiction,” Anthony Figliola; Empire Government Strategies

Sure there are salaries being paid out of grant and Open Space trust fund money and there is non-budget revenue and hidden debt and fudge items like ‘Salary Adjustment’ that make comparing budgets in New Jersey, where GASB rules are a quaint notion, a crapshoot.  But try we must.

Back at nj.com I did comparisons for 2008,  2009 and 2010 of the Union and Morris county budgets and did 2011 here.  Both counties serve about 500,000 people though Morris, with a larger land mass and a county library, seems to do it for a lot less. Here is the 2013 update comparing the adopted budgets of Union and Morris counties:

OVERVIEW …………………….UNION………………….MORRIS
Total Appropriations…………..493,731,606…………..311,089,690
Less: Surplus…………………..(19,000,000)………….(21,000,000)
Less: State/Fed Revenue…….(37,821,917)………….(46,032,938)
Less: County Revenue………(119,365,491)………….(26,153,722)
Amt. Raised by Taxation……..317,544,198…………..217,903,030

APPROPRIATIONS DETAIL…..UNION………………….MORRIS
Salaries……………………….168,559,846……………102,873,968
Debt Service……………………57,112,163…………….38,306,925 Insurance……………………….71,077,898…………….37,464,000
Social Security…………………10,842,000………………6,700,000 Pensions……………………….28,726,886……………..14,773,481
Other Expenses……………..157,412,813……………110,971,316
TOTAL………………………..493,731,606……………311,089,690

PENSION COST DETAIL……..UNION…………………MORRIS PERS………………………..15,374,379………………8,894,882
Police & Fire………………..13,290,007………………5,779,599 Sheriff/Detective…………………27,500………………….39,000
Defined Contribution……………35,000………………… 60,000 TOTAL………………………28,726,886……………..14,773,481

Total Payroll (incl OT)……168,559,846…………….102,873,968
Pension as % of payroll………..17.04%………………..14.36%

Note that Morris County also uses their Open Space tax (which they routinely cut) to acquire Open Space and still manages to have a surplus of over $70 million in that fund. Compare that to Union County which consistently raids their Open Space ‘trust’ fund for their regular budget and plans to continue as long as they can.

For a more detailed comparison of where this money is being spent here is a spreadsheet of all appropriations and another one of possible places to cut in Union County.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by NFS on June 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Appears that Morris County is the real “Morris Model” as opposed to the DeCotiis “Morris Model” that’s gone bankrupt.

    Soil conservation? WTF is that?

    Plainfield, Roselle, Linden, Elizabeth and Rahway = “Union Model” for high taxes, unconscionable spending and downright fiscal intended ignorance.

    Reply

  2. Posted by NFS on June 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    The freeholders eyes would glaze over if confronted with these real numbers, including the so-called CFO that we inherited from Plainfield, from all places.

    An internet search shows that Scamlom $75,000 position is just not offered to the general public at that salary.

    Not even politically connected firms offer that salary with SCAMlon’s resume.

    Hudak’s law firm could have hired her if he thinks so highly of Scamlon. Does anyone think Hudak’s law firm has such a lucrative pension plan like Hudak gets from taxpayers? Of course not. John Hudak doesn’t even offer the same benefits to his own employees as he takes from taxpayers.

    It wasn’t until John Hudak started donating to the UCDC that he got County work.

    I saw it with my own eyes.

    But no, put Scamlon on the public payroll,

    Reply

  3. Posted by Daniel Shays on June 6, 2013 at 8:52 am

    UC government is a full blown kleptocracy. There is no open space in Union County to preserve, it’s all gone………and now it goes into helping to cook their books

    Reply

  4. Posted by Bruce Paterson on June 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

    a concerted effort on the grassroots resident level is needed to create a presentation to each town’s mayor & council to convince them that there is no real union county govt in definition. Each town could chip into a legal fund to hire counsel in proving it. Plus each town should hold off any county taxes until the union county govt can prove they are a county govt and not an alleged self serving criminal enterprise.

    Sounds pretty easy to do, just need a pointgroup and intelligent shoe leather.

    Reply

    • Nobody’s going to withhold regular county taxes. Even Summit can’t push through a proposal to escrow them. However, municipalities have a moral obligation to withhold Open Space taxes once they understand that those taxes are being misappropriated by Union County (which is fairly obvious from the budget numbers I’ve seen).

      Reply

  5. Posted by Bruce Paterson on June 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    JB1-no one is saying to withhold county taxes, the problem is that there is no county govt to send them to.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Javagold on June 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I am saying withhold County Taxes !!!

    Reply

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