- Making Burlington New Jersey’s Most Affordable County
- Securing Schools to Protect Children & Teachers
- Investing in the Environment, Land Preservation & Infrastructure Improvements
- Prioritizing Working Moms, Higher Education & Workforce Development
- Confronting the Opioid Crisis & Keeping Neighborhoods Safe
New Jersey’s Most Affordable County
“Just like Burlington County’s families, seniors and small business owners, it is incumbent upon government to do more with less,” said Director Gibbs.
- Gibbs and Hughes helped to decrease the total property tax levy by more than any county in the entire state over the past 9 years – saving taxpayers $105 million dollars.
- By comparison, Democrat-controlled counties like Hudson and Union have increased property taxes by a half-billion dollars over the same time, and the average cumulative increase for the other 20 NJ counties over the last 9 years was $188 million each.
- Gibbs and Hughes are utilizing shared services to help reduce the tax burden in municipalities, with direct benefits to towns of over $135 million in just the last five years, including: 9-1-1 emergency dispatch and recycling collection for all 40 municipalities, municipal park development grants, technology upgrades for first responders, emergency services training, forming the Burlington County Insurance Commission for property and casualty claims, and health insurance benefits for county-affiliated agencies, merging the boards at BCIT and BCSSSD to streamline operations, and technology upgrades for the library system.
Securing Our Schools; Protecting Students & Teachers
“After the Parkland and other school shootings, I refused to wait for Washington or Trenton to act – so we took matters into our own hands and are making our schools safer,” said Director Gibbs.
- Gibbs and Hughes created a national model on how to help guard against future shooting tragedies through a $20 million grant program that will assist local school districts without forcing them to increase local property taxes. The program was immediately embraced by the community, with all 21 public high schools now participating.
- The grants will fund physical improvements such as new entrance vestibules, door locks, ID card readers, security cameras, panic alarms, entry buzzers and other improvements intended to harden schools to improve security and safety.
- Gibbs and Hughes also increased the investment in Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) to help with additional security improvements that better protect college students and faculty on the campus.
Investing in the Environment, Land Preservation & Infrastructure Improvements
“Keeping our county clean and green while continuing to make us a magnet for jobs and economic growth is not easy, but it can be done – and we are proving it,” said Hughes.
- Gibbs and Hughes are part of the team who has helped to preserve over 61,000 acres of farmland from development – making it one of the Top 10 Greenest Counties in America. As part of preserving the county’s agricultural heritage and strengthening the bond with our farmers, Gibbs and Hughes are also partnering with “Farmers Against Hunger” to help them provide fresh, healthy produce for less fortunate residents by linking farms across the county to hunger-relief organizations and educating communities about healthy eating.
- Under their leadership, the county has also completed major improvements to the fairgrounds and agricultural center, and awarded its 7thround of municipal park grants – now totaling $35 million – which is responsible for building or improving 225 parks. They have also recently completed renovations of the Lyceum of History & Natural Sciences in downtown Mount Holly, and this year will begin work towards completing the Rancocas Greenway Trail System.
- Gibbs and Hughes announced a comprehensive plan to provide immediate traffic relief along the northern Route 130 corridor, and plan to use that model across all county roads to improve the quality of life for all county residents. They are also working across party lines with Senator Troy Singleton to urge NJDOT to designate Route 130 a ‘Safe Corridor’, which will increase penalties for unsafe driving and place a priority on driver and pedestrian safety.
- Gibbs and Hughes also won concessions from Amazon and its landlord to mitigate traffic impacts from their impending facility at the former U.S. Pipe and Foundry site, including changing employee shifts to avoid morning and afternoon rush hours.
- They also recently received grant funding from DVRPC to perform a similar analysis on Route 541 and to recommend improvements to this rapidly developing corridor.
Prioritizing Working Moms, Higher Education & Workforce Development
“We’ve proven that you can cut government spending and taxes, while still investing in priorities that matter to middle-class families, millennials and seniors,” said Gibbs.
- Gibbs and Hughes are providing dedicated, private spaces to pump or nurse in county buildings by installing freestanding movable pods that will provide privacy, power outlets, fold-down tables and benches, and allow women to pump or breastfeed in a comfortable space free from intrusion. They previously worked with BCIT, BCSSSD and RCBC to dedicate a private room for new mothers on each campus, and are planning to partner with Virtua to expand their “Mobile Mammograms” service to help reach more residents and raise further awareness and increase early detection for breast cancer.
- Gibbs and Hughes are also in the process of delivering on a promise to revitalize and relaunch the Burlington County Women’s Advisory Council, and plan to expand its reach, influencing women of all ages from high school students to our seniors. Their efforts on this front are a continuation of recent county initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality in the workplace, including an equal pay resolution and mandatory sexual harassment training and retraining for all county employees.
- Gibbs and Hughes are working with RCBC to complete transition of the centrally-located Mount Laurel campus from a satellite facility to a full-service campus. Together with the ever-expanding 3+1 program offered in partnership with Rowan University, even more students will obtain a 4-year degree for under $30,000 – far less than what most colleges charge for a single year.
- In partnership with Virtua, RCBC is providing cutting-edge health sciences education through emergency medical training by offering courses and degree opportunities in paramedic and EMT certification, while also expanding enrollment in its popular 3+1 programs for Nursing.
- Gibbs and Hughes have also been at the forefront of creating and nurturing the Workforce Development Institute (WFDI), which combines the resources of the County and RCBC to streamline services and promote the skills, training and education to better prepare county residents to seek and secure good-paying jobs. To date, the WFDI has placed over 750 unemployed persons in jobs generating over $20 million in salaries.
Confronting the Opioid Crisis & Keeping Neighborhoods Safe
“We are passionate about addressing the scourge of addiction gripping our communities and are committed to working with law enforcement and first responders to provide them with all of the tools they need to keep us safe and secure,” said Hughes.
- Burlington is the first and only county in the state to provide dispatch for police, fire and emergency medical services to all 40 municipalities.The effort has been a model for shared services, saving towns over $9 million a year. In addition, the county also provides first responder software and maintenance that saves towns $2 million per year.
- Gibbs and Hughes are in the process of a $40 million upgrade to the public safety communications system so that all of the county’s first responders will operate on a comprehensive, state of the art radio system, according to new FCC standards.
- The county is completing a comprehensive inventory of the radio equipment on the existing radio system and of the emergency vehicles in the various organizations. In keeping with the Freeholder Board’s tradition of support for the emergency services, Gibbs and Hughes will be making a substantial investment to ensure that all agencies receive a sufficient quantity of mobile and portable radios based on their need.
- Gibbs and Hughes are also working with Congressman MacArthur on his bipartisan efforts in the House to reform the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) managed by the Department of Homeland Security. Together, MacArthur, Gibbs and Hughes have called on DHS to allocate federal funds directly to the counties in each geographic zone, preventing a single, large city, in this case Philadelphia and its suburbs, from hording all available funds. In FY 2017, the Philadelphia UASI zone, an area comprised primarily of counties within Pennsylvania and New Jersey, received nearly $18 million – and Burlington County received zero.
- Gibbs and Hughes will work with Prosecutor Scott Coffina to provide all local first responders and their departments with additional supplies of Narcan. Additionally, they are planning a new initiative, known as a “Night of Hope”, which will make space available in county buildings for individuals who are willing to enter treatment, but are in need of very short-term shelter under the supervision of a recovery coach while a bed is located.
- Gibbs and Hughes have been leaders in combating the opioid epidemic by increasing education, eliminating the stigma of addiction, promoting prevention measures, working with local non-profit organizations, and reopening Post House, the county-owned drug treatment facility.
- Gibbs and Hughes recently announced that Burlington County government is preparing to join the fight when it comes to holding the nation’s largest drug companies, distributors, and physicians accountable for their role in perpetuating the scourge of substance abuse that is plaguing our communities. The Freeholder Board is in the process of retaining an experienced law firm to initiate opioid litigation. While no amount of money can replace loved ones or heal the physical and emotional scars suffered by those who have experienced addiction and their families, holding those responsible for the opioid crisis accountable for the pain, suffering and financial impact their actions have caused would be a step in the right direction
County Clerk Tim Tyler
In addition to the efforts of Freeholders Gibbs and Hughes, County Clerk Tim Tyler outlined his record of creating a more accessible and customer-friendly Clerk’s Office, and said his focus in a new term would be on helping veterans, preventing identify theft and other consumer fraud, as well as making life easier for local Burlington County entrepreneurs and business owners.
Giving Back to Taxpayers
“Providing more and better services, while helping the Freeholders reduce costs for property taxpayers is a continual focus for my office, and I am proud to say that we delivered,” said Tyler.
- Since taking office, Clerk Tyler has funded direct property tax relief by turning over nearly $34 million to support the county budget, while reducing overtime expenses in the Clerk’s Office by 77% since 2013.
Supporting and Honoring Local Veterans
“I grew up in the shadow of the Joint Base and ensuring our veterans were honored and respected was something instilled in me at a young age,” said Tyler. “As County Clerk, I want to do my part to make sure Burlington County is the most veteran-friendly county in New Jersey, if not the entire country.”
- Earlier this year, Tyler joined forces with Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs and the County’s Department of Military and Veterans Services in a public information campaign to remind veterans that they are eligible for a new $3,000 exemption when filing their New Jersey income tax forms.Tyler provides free certified copies of the required DD-214 form – the official Certificate of Release issued upon honorable discharge – to all veterans who have recorded their paperwork for safekeeping with the Clerk’s Office.
- Tyler made Special Gold Star Parent identification cards available through his office at no cost for any mother or father who lost a child serving on active duty. The cards provide access to discounts or other courtesies extended to military families, including free or reduced admission to state beaches, parks and forests, and the State Museum.
- Tyler is also leading a new initiative to distribute official Killed in Action (KIA) flags that will fly over government buildings in all 40 municipalities to honor Burlington County military men and women who lost their lives in defense of our nation.
Providing Accessible Services & Performing Weddings
“Our county residents lead busy lives and getting to Mount Holly during business hours isn’t always feasible – that’s why our office has made improving access a top priority throughout my time as County Clerk,” said Tyler.
- Tyler announced earlier this year he was extending the lease – at $50,000 less than the previous lease – of his popular County Corner satellite office at the Moorestown Mall through June 2020. Since 2005, more than 608,000 customers have gone to that location seeking assistance from the Clerk’s Office or inquiring about other government programs.
- Tyler received national recognition from the U.S. Department of State’s National Passport Center and was awarded with two perfect scores for exemplary passport services. During that time, the Clerk’s Office helped Burlington County residents by processing more than 11,000 new passport applications.
- As County Clerk, Tyler has officiated at more than 2,800 weddings – giving residents who choose for a simpler, non-religious ceremony the ability to tie the knot at scenic locations throughout the county at no cost to them or taxpayers.
- Tyler will soon partner with Sheriff Jean Stanfield and Surrogate Mary Ann O’Brien to further enhance mobile services through a community outreach initiative aimed at regular visits to senior communities, libraries, and other public buildings to provide hyperlocal assistance with passports, veteran’s services and notaries.
Preventing Identify Theft & Consumer Fraud
“The confidentiality and security of personal documents is more important today than ever before, and our office takes its responsibility in this regard very seriously,” said Tyler, whose office processed nearly 100,000 property-related documents just last year alone.
- Tyler – in an effort to enhance document security – is in the process of launching a new Property Alert Service that will protect Burlington County residents from scams and identity thieves. The free service will notify homeowners by email or phone whenever a document is recorded by the Clerk’s Office that affects their property.
- Tyler’s office will also hold free shredding events to ensure the proper disposal of secure documents for residents.
Making Elections Secure
“While there has been no evidence of any kind of election tampering in Burlington County, we have made it a top priority to ensure elections are fair and secure and continually invest in the measures we have put in place,” said Tyler.
- County Clerk Tyler has worked closely with the County Superintendent of Elections and Board of Elections to put safeguards in place. Most notably, county voting machines and tally system are not connected to the internet, making them, by design, impossible to hack.
- At the same time, Tyler helps oversee several layers of physical security procedures to prevent any voting manipulation before, during, and after elections.
- While there has been no evidence of any election tampering in Burlington County, Clerk Tyler continually refines these measures to meet all of the State of New Jersey’s standards and mandates.
Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed & Local Businesses Grow
“From the lowest property taxes in the region to tens of thousands of acres of open space to our investment in quality of life initiatives for all residents, Burlington County is an attractive place for businesses to settle and grow,” said Tyler. “I have a plan to make it even better.”
- Along with Freeholders Kate Gibbs and Linda Hughes, County Clerk Tyler is planning free small business workshops to help entrepreneurs know how to properly register their business in the county as either a sole proprietorship or small partnership. These workshops will help business owners navigate government bureaucracy mandated by Trenton, while introducing them to all the benefits of being an employer in Burlington County.