Looking ahead to 2012 in Gloucester

- Posted on Jan 11, 2012 - 03:56 PM

Photo: The new emergency communications center next to the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office should be completed this spring. The new building will also house the county emergency services office. Photo by Kim Robins.

The new emergency communications center next to the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office should be completed this spring. The new building will also house the county emergency services office. Photo by Kim Robins.

The year 2012 looks to be another challenging year for Gloucester County government. Though county administrator Brenda Garton has not formally started work on the budget, which will be adopted in the spring, she is prepared to make difficult decisions.

Like many businesses, local governments have faced their own economic challenges for the past three years. This year, Garton said she will have "significantly less money from the state" and likely no local revenue growth. She anticipates some of the deepest state cuts will be in education.

Garton was hesitant when talking about the prospect of raises for county employees in the upcoming budget. Recognizing that it has been quite a while since employees have seen raises, Garton said it will definitely be something she will have to decide on when forming the budget.

Another challenge Gloucester is facing that may be unique among surrounding localities is that its utilities department is in debt and has required large transfers from the county’s general fund in the past fiscal years. The utilities department is also facing other challenges in meeting debt service requirements and ever-changing TMDL regulations, Garton added.