Vincent Solomeno, Candidate For Monmouth County Freeholder, attended the March 9th 2010 public hearing on the proposed Monmouth County Budget at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury.
Good evening, my name is Vincent Solomeno, and I’m a property taxpayer from Hazlet. I first want to thank the professional staff for the time spent preparing this budget proposal.
That said, members of the Board, it is my hope that you reject this proposal. Monmouth County residents simply can’t afford this level of spending. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and produce a budget with significant savings.
This is no normal time—the worst economy in generations. Clearly, the status quo is unacceptable.
Yet as I read the budget proposal, a number of areas go unaddressed—areas that if cut can result in significant savings for taxpayers. Unfortunately, this budget is more of the same, when that’s exactly what we can’t afford.
This budget does not consider the potential savings of combining the purchasing departments of the county and the parks system—a redundancy which costs taxpayers money.
This budget does not consider the savings to be had by combining our two motor pools.
And at a time when many private-sector workers are seeing their salaries cut or their wages frozen, this budget does not consider the savings to be had by freezing the salaries of non-contractual personnel earning over $100,000.
The important question I hear from my neighbors is, “Why?”
Why doesn’t this budget end the practice of awarding no-bid contracts for professional services? Doing so would increase efficiency, guarantee transparency, and save taxpayer dollars.
Why doesn’t this budget honor the intent of the cap law? Monmouth County families know it’s time to do more with less. You wouldn’t hand a credit card to a shopaholic, so why, in these economic times, should the county spend significantly above the cap, when all it means for residents is higher taxes and more spending?
I understand the enormity of the task before you. We may disagree over specific priorities, but we all know—just like Monmouth county families know—that in this time of stagnating wages, layoffs, and rising property taxes, it’s time to make tough choices.
This budget doesn’t make those tough choices. We don’t live in a fairy tale, and we can’t wish our problems away. We simply can’t afford tax increases year after year. Enough is enough.
Monmouth County families are struggling. We owe it to them to cut this bloated budget and bring them real property tax relief. I hope you have the courage to do just that.