Mercer County’s proposed 2022 budget calls for flat tax levy.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has presented to the County Board of Commissioners his administration’s proposed 2022 budget, a $358 million spending plan that stays within the state-mandated 2-percent cap and would result in no increase to the tax levy.

On February 22, Hughes presented an overview of his administration’s budget proposal to the commissioners, who will review the document over the coming weeks before voting on its adoption.

Of the total budget, $269 million would be collected through property taxes, the same levy as last year.

“This document represents our effort to provide the best possible government in the most cost-effective manner to the taxpayer,” Hughes said. “The ongoing pandemic has tested us as never before. While we may have changed the way we deliver some services, I am proud of the fact that we have continued to provide resources our residents expect, and I applaud the creativity of our county workforce, including this board, for their flexibility.”

A resident’s actual tax rate will rise or fall depending on his or her municipality, once the County rate is equalized to reflect the difference between municipal property assessments and property market values.

The budget proposes that $6.5 million of the County’s surplus be used, leaving a $33 million balance, along with $22 million from the federal American Rescue Plan fund to “help offset the enormous expenditures incurred during the unprecedented pandemic response,” Hughes said.

The spending plan “reflects our continued response to the challenges brought by the pandemic and the toll it has taken on the health of our residents, as well as our county finances, and as a result of our responsible planning, we can propose a budget that is considerate of our taxpayers and offers relief by holding the line,” Hughes added.

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