Looking ahead to 2011: Gloucester
Gloucester County will be facing many tough issues over the coming year, from balancing a budget with projected shortfalls in revenue to fulfilling capital needs that have been waiting several years to be addressed. The county’s staff is also expected to finish the update of the county’s comprehensive plan and the board of supervisors will make some tough decisions regarding real property assessments.
For the second year in a row, Gloucester County will face a tough year balancing its budget. County Administrator Brenda Garton said she is looking hard at revenue projections for the coming year and is afraid the school system will fare just as badly, if not worse, than it did in its current budget.
Garton said economic forecasts she has heard remain bleak, as there has been very little bounce-back in housing or other main drivers of the economy.
She said this remains a major issue for Gloucester County. County employees, Garton said, have not seen a raise in a number of years, "and that’s very hard on employee morale," she said. "County employees are dealing with the financial difficulties of the economy just like everyone else."
Garton said the economic conditions also have the county facing a challenge to provide the same level of service to its residents. Many vacant positions have been frozen and others left unfunded because of the economy, leaving departments such as public utilities and public works not fully staffed.