County to allocate $1.5 million to ECC to cover budget shortfalls

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County recently announced that it will be providing Essex County College with an additional $1.5 million allocation to cover shortfalls in the college’s budget.

“I have wholeheartedly supported Essex County College for the last 28 years as a freeholder, freeholder president and now as county executive,” County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said in a recent press release. “We understand the college is going through a financial crisis, and this transfer of additional funds will help them through this difficult time. We want to make sure we are doing all we can to help Essex County College with its Middle States evaluation and to move the college forward. I want to be as supportive as possible to President Dr. Anthony Munroe, the board of trustees, the faculty and, most importantly, the students.”

The Essex County College Board of School Estimate, of which DiVincenzo is a member, unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday, Nov. 2, inserting the funds into the college’s budget.

“It is important for us to ensure that the college is well-positioned, fiscally and academically, to best serve the needs of the students of Essex County College. This is one step of many that we must take to provide the highest level of service to our deserving students,” Munroe said in the release. “We thank the county executive, the board of chosen freeholders, the board of trustees, and the community for their support, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the county to bring Essex County College to a place a fiscal stability and, ultimately, prosperity.”

DiVincenzo said $1.5 million is being transferred from current savings in the county’s operating budget to the help the college. The transfer will increase the total amount that Essex County has funded the college to approximately $13.95 million. The executive also pointed out that he is committed to increasing Essex County’s annual contribution to the college by $1.25 million next year. In addition, the regular transfer of funds is now being made on a monthly basis to help the college with its cash flow.

The county executive also noted that Essex County has provided about $13.5 million in capital funds to the college over the last five years that has not been spent. This money is earmarked for building and infrastructure projects. DiVincenzo and the county were also instrumental several years ago in helping ECC receive approximately $20 million in state grants to fund various facility improvements. DiVincenzo said he has been talking with NJ Higher Education officials to ensure the college does not lose that funding.

“Essex County College is going through tough times, but I am excited to be working with Dr. Munroe and the board of trustees. We can only get through this and put the college on the right path if we work collectively,” DiVincenzo said.