New Burlington County Commissioner pledges to help keep tax rate low
MOUNT HOLLY — A new member has joined the Burlington County Board of Commissioners, promising to help the board maintain the lowest county tax rate in the state,
Democrat Allison Eckel of Medford will serve an unexpired term on the five-member board until the end of the year.
Eckel is a marketing specialist for the Garden State Council of Boy Scouts of America
who served on a regional school board and participated in other educational and community activities.
She replaces Linda Hynes, who resigned in January to become a Superior Court judge. Hynes served two years of his three-year term on the Democratic-controlled board.
The Burlington County Democratic Committee chose Eckel to replace Hynes, also a Democrat.
Last year, Eckel ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the National Assembly. A Republican slate defeated her and her Assembly running mate and also unseated State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego.
“Our council has successfully governed responsibly to support our county’s affordability and high quality of life, but also in a way that reflects our compassion and empathy for the hardships some residents face every day,” Burlington County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell said.
“We welcome Allison and are confident she will help keep this tradition going,” he said.
Eckel said she was proud to join a council that has shown a deep commitment to the county and its more than 460,000 residents.
Eckel said that over the past few years she has seen Burlington County help families and businesses and invest in infrastructure and initiatives that protect the health and well-being of residents.
“They have helped preserve and enhance our county’s natural beauty, history and economy, while holding the line on taxes to provide much-desired affordability,” Eckel said.
Eckel is a graduate of Franklin & Marshal College and holds a master’s degree in writing and publishing from Emerson College. She has extensive experience in digital marketing and media, according to a county spokesperson.
She spent more than four years as a school board member for the Lenape Regional School District and more than a decade as a Boy Scout leader, den leader, mentor, and counselor for the Boy Scouts of America.
His volunteer service also includes work with the Medford Education Foundation and the Medford Township Economic Development Commission. She is also a former co-chief of the Army’s 561st Medical Company Family Readiness Group at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, helping coordinate the unit’s family support while members were deployed to Iraq for the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Burlington County had the lowest average county tax in New Jersey in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and the lowest cost per capita of any county in New Jersey.
Earlier this month, commissioners passed a budget that officials say funds essential programs and services while maintaining the county’s status as the most affordable in the region.
Commissioners unanimously approved a $230.3 million budget and separate tax rates for the county library system and for the open space preservation program.
The comprehensive spending plan calls for millions of dollars less in total appropriations than last year’s budget and keeps the county’s tax levy for government operations the same at $169.7 million.
The open space tax will revert to a higher rate of 2½ cents per $100 of assessed property value. That’s up from two cents last year, but below the maximum tax of four cents allowed by county voters in 2006.
This tax rate change translates to an increase of approximately $11 per household and is expected to generate a total of approximately $12.4 million for the county’s Open Space Trust Fund, which is dedicated to the preservation of farmland and open space for parks, trail improvements and other programs.
Carol Comegno loves telling stories about South Jersey life, history and veterans for the Courier Post, Burlington County Times and Daily Journal. If you have a story to share, call her at 856-486-2473 or email her [email protected].
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