Some problems have no simple solutions. Brookdale is facing declining enrollments and the end of that trend is not in sight. Since 2005, public school enrollments in Monmouth County have fallen by almost 9,000 students with additional declines likely. At the same time, costs have risen.
These facts have been further compounded by the recession that has eroded the county tax base. As a result, we have all had to do more with less.
This has meant spending reductions and staffing reductions across many departments. At the same time, we also sought ways to help our overall community that was suffering from the impacts of a troubled economy. We decided the single broadest and fairest thing we could do was to freeze county taxes. We have done this four years in a row.
Every year this savings compounds, leaving more money in the hands of families to allocate as they see fit to meet needs in their personal lives including increases in college tuition.
Brookdale has an autonomous board and it, just like us and just like you, must make difficult decisions. Cut spending. Increase revenues. Find ways to compete for a greater share of the shrinking pool of potential students.
We have faith in the Brookdale board and are confident that it recognizes that challenges arising from long-term trends cannot be met with short-term solutions. They require a clear and balanced path that assures the continuation of the mission at costs that are responsibly controlled.
Lillian G. Burry
Monmouth County freeholder director