Over the last 3 years, Shanel and Sara have served on the Somerset County Commissioner Board – and now lead the Board as Director and Deputy Director. Under their leadership, the County has kept the tax rate flat, increased services, helped small businesses stay afloat, invested millions in education, and battled a pandemic.
Promises Made. Promises Kept
Somerset County currently leads the state in vaccinations – over 70% of eligible residents
Diversity: Created and appointed the first ranks of Somerset County's LGBTQ+ Advisory Board
, which amplifies historically marginalized voices.
Somerset County has gotten top bond ratings from S&P for 34 years and counting
– proof of its record fiscal health. Out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide, the county is one of 100 with this distinction – and in New Jersey, it is one of only six counties with a AAA rating. The County also currently holds a AAA rating from Moody's.
The County is funding a pilot program with Bridgewater Township to place a social worker with the Bridgewater police department
to assist in accessing resources for residents who need help before
they are in a position to be arrested, which improves the relationship between civilians and LEOs.
Mental Health of Vulnerable Populations:
Richard Hall Mental Health Center has broken ground on a new primary care suite
to supplement its mental health and substance abuse services. Zufall Health will provide comprehensive primary care, dental care, vision care beginning in December 2021 to the public with a priority for Richard Hall clients.
Under Shanel and Sara's leadership, the County set up an online listing of all available board and commission openings
where interested applicants can submit resumes and information; Commissioners now see all
applicant resumes prior to voting on appointments.
Changed Open Space Funding to include upgrading and improving existing parks in all communities, particularly densely developed and populated communities
. First grants were provided to Manville for the Lost Valley Nature Park by the Raritan River
, and to South Bound Brook to expand the community’s only public park
In March 2019, the Board began streaming meetings online through Somerset County's website
. In January 2021, that stream expanded to Facebook Live, which allows for virtual public input via the comments section.
Taxes: Budgets have remained flat since Democrats joined the Commissioner Board.
In 2020, there was even a small tax cut
under the Democratic majority. In 2021, the tax rate remained flat, and the tax increase per average home went up by less than $50. Over the last three years, no services have been cut, and many have been expanded
. In a state where taxes only seem to go up, Shanel and Sara's leadership have resulted in fairer taxation for all.