Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein
Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein / Staff photo/Cody Glenn
VINELAND - Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein delivered a challenge-punctuated State of the County speech Wednesday, decrying a pattern of regular multi-million-dollar budget deficits, unrealistic contracts and bad property management.
"We can no longer continue doing business as it's been done for the past 30 years," Kirstein
"We must change now."
The director continued that reducing the property tax burden is the theme for government's new direction in 2012.
Controversial initiatives such as the recent sale of the Cumberland Manor nursing home will be part of that direction, he
broke down the financial impacts of the nursing home's sale as well as the unresolved budget issues involving the county library, overtime costs in the sheriff's and corrections departments and building construction and repair projects.
called the nursing home's sale in January "an incremental first step" in cost reduction.
also touched on the leak-prone county
courthouse, saying work needs to start soon to avoid further damage, and the ongoing construction of a new main office building for the county Prosecutor's Office.
"We must rid ourselves of the cost of maintaining so many buildings," Kirstein
said, saying the county
may re-litigate that lawsuit.
also reopened an old controversy, saying the Board of Social Services needs to leave its $1 million-a-year leased office space.
That's been an issue in more than one county freeholder race.
"We could have built our own facility and had it paid for by now!
also broached a possible merger of the county
library with other area libraries, while insisting the county does not want it to close.
"This freeholder board, like all of you, understands our high unemployment and literacy rates," he
"We also understand that value of the library to our young people.
There is an answer. we just need to be open to new ideas."
and the new Republican board majority face stiffening Democratic resistance.
Kirstein dropped another bit of news during his speech, announcing that longtime county Chief Financial Officer Marcella Shepard was leaving to take another job.
Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein delivered a challenge-punctuated State of the County speech Wednesday, decrying a pattern of regular multi-million-dollar budget deficits,