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Frequently Asked Questions

Board of Commissioners
  • Commissioners
    • How did County Government start?

      The word "freeholder" traces its origin to medieval England. It was introduced here by the British colonists who brought with them the concept of the county as the local unit of government. When the British settled in the "new world," they also brought with them the idea that only those who owned land free of any debt could vote and hold public office. Those who could vote were known as "free-holders" and those who were elected to office were the "chosen free-holders."

      The basic law establishing the freeholder form of county government in New Jersey was enacted in 1798. In the beginning, each corporate municipality was represented by a freeholder on the county governing board. But as the number of municipalities increased to the point where some boards were bogged down by sheer weight of numbers, the law was changed. In 1912 the "Small Board" Act was adopted, permitting counties to elect freeholders from the county at large. The exact number of freeholders making up each county board was to be determined by the respective county's population. The law was permissive, and subject to approval by the voters at a referendum.

      Since its enactment, 17 of New Jersey's 21 counties have taken advantage of this Act. Only four: Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic and Cumberland, retain the historic form with one freeholder elected from each governing body or subdivision. Sussex County has five freeholders. A county may have between three and nine, depending on its population and classification.

      The freeholders are elected at-large to serve three-year staggered terms. The five freeholders elect a director from among themselves to run their meetings and to serve as spokesperson for the board.

      New Jersey was the only state whose elected county representatives were called freeholders. On January 1, 2021 elected county representatives became known as Commissioners.

    • What is a Commissioner?

      A Commissioner is the elected County government representative in New Jersey who serves on the County's main governing body, the Board of County Commissioners.

      The Sussex County Board of County Commissioners sets policy for three County departments and 16 divisions, plus a number of boards, commissions, authorities and committees. The Commissioners appoint a county administrator to supervise the actual day-to-day operation of County government.

Board of Elections
  • Elections
    • Who can register to vote?

      To register in New Jersey you must be:

      • A US citizen,
      • At least 18 years old on or before the next election,
      • Residing at your present address for at least 30 days.

      You are not eligible to register to vote if you are serving a sentence of incarceration as the result of an indictable offense under the laws of this or another state or of the United States.

    • How and where do I register to vote?

      Applications for registration can be obtained from the Board of Elections in Newton, from the County Clerk, or your Municipal Clerk. Registration forms are also available in various State agencies and at Division of Motor Vehicle offices.

      You can also download a registration form and after writing in the required information, mail it to the Board of Elections. This same form can also be used for name and address changes. Unfortunately, the Board of Elections cannot accept faxed copies or an electronic transmission of a voter registration form since an original signature is required.

      If you do not have a printer available call the Board of Elections at (973)579-0950 and a registration can be mailed to your home! Don't forget to register right away because the registration deadline to vote at the next election is 21 days prior to election day!

    • What Party Can I Register As?

      A registered voter may choose to declare to be a member of any one of these parties:

      • Republican
      • Democratic
      • Libertarian
      • Green
      • Conservative
      • Reform
      • U.S. Constitution
      • Natural Law
      • Socialist Party of New Jersey

      Party affiliation forms are available online, through your municipal clerk or call the Board of Elections.

    • How Do I Get A Mail-In Ballot?
      Mail-In ballot applications may be obtained online or through the County Clerk's office. To find out if you are eligible for a Mail-In ballot, or to request an application, please call the County Clerk at (973)579-0900.
    • Where Should I Go To Vote On Election Day?

      Sample ballots are mailed out to registered voters seven days before each election. Delivery dates may vary according to each post office. Your sample ballot will show you exactly what the ballot will look like on Election Day and lists the district and polling location that you are registered in. Sample ballots for each election are also available online at the Sussex County Clerk's website.

      If you need directions to your polling place your municipal clerk will most likely be able to suggest the best route to your designated poll.

      You can also look up your polling place with the Sussex County Election Polling Places application.

      If you have been issued a mail-in ballot you may still receive a sample ballot but you can not vote at the polls.

    • What will my ballot look like on Election Day?

      The screen shots from each sample ballot are posted on the County Clerk's website before every election. If you would like to review what will be on your ballot before you go to the polls, or you can not find your sample ballot, please go here to review your ballot choices.

    • How Do I Find Out About Becoming a Poll Worker?

      ~ Poll Workers Wanted! ~

      The Board of Elections needs active citizens to assist voters on election days. Applications are open to anyone who is a resident of Sussex County, 18 years of age or older, and who is registered to vote. If you would like to help serve your country on election day and are interested in making $200 for each election, please call the Board of Elections today at (973)579-0950! Submit an application online today!

    • How Do I Find Out Election Results?

      Election results can be viewed online through the County Clerk's site. Unofficial results are usually posted on election night during and after tallies have finished. A CD version of certified results may be ordered by calling the County Clerk at (973)579-0900.

      State-wide results by county can be accessed by clicking here.

Board of Taxation
  • Tax Board
    • Are there Special Rules for Commercial Properties?
      Yes. Owners of rental income properties must supply an income statement at the time of filing on special forms provided by the Tax Board. Since the income generated by a property has a direct bearing on the owner's ability to market the property, and therefore its value, this evidence may be useful in arguing both sides of an appeal.

    • How do I know if my Assessment is Fair?
      The NJ Legislature adopted a formula known as Chapter 123 in 1973 to test the fairness of an assessment. Once the Tax Board has determined the true market value of a property during an appeal, they are required to automatically compare the true market value to the assessment. 

      If the ratio of the assessment to the true value exceeds the average ratio by 15%, then the assessment is automatically reduced to the common level.  However, if the assessment falls within this common level range, no adjustment will be made.  If the assessment to true value ratio falls below the common level the Tax Board is obligated to increase the assessment to the common level. 

      This test assumes the taxpayer will supply sufficient evidence to the Tax Board so they may determine the true market value of the property subject to the appeal. You should inquire into your district's average ratio before filing a tax appeal. This ratio changes annually on October 1, for use in the subsequent tax year.
    • If the Property was Recently Purchased, How is this Purchased Considered?
        An assessment is an opinion of value. Uniformity of treatment dictates minor adjustments not be made simply due to a recent sales price. For various other reasons the subject's sales price may not necessarily be either conclusive evidence of the property's true market value, or binding upon the Tax Board. An examination of the circumstances surrounding a sale is always important.
    • Is a Hearing Always Necessary?

      A hearing is always necessary.  If the assessor, municipal attorney, and the taxpayer agree to a settlement or the issues are otherwise resolved, it may not be necessary for you to attend your hearing, particularly if a settlement stipulation form is submitted to the Tax Board for their approval.

    • May I Further Appeal the Judgment of the Tax Board if I am Still Dissatisfied?
      If you are dissatisfied with the judgment rendered by the Tax Board, you will have 45 days from the date your judgment was mailed to file a further appeal with the Tax Court of NJ.  If your property is assessed for more than $1,000,000, you may file directly with the Tax Court by April 1st annually.
    • What is a Tax Appeal Hearing and Who will Hear my Appeal?
      Once you have filed your tax appeal, a hearing before the Sussex County Tax Board is scheduled. The Tax Board consists of 5 members appointed by the governor, there are currently 3 sitting members on the Tax Board. The Tax Board Commissioners are appointed primarily to hear disputes involving assessments. The municipality is the opposing party and will be represented by the municipal attorney. The assessor and/or an appraiser may appear at your hearing as an expert witness for the municipality.
    • What is Good Evidence to Convince the Tax Board to Reconsider an Assessment?
        You cannot appeal the taxes on your property since the taxes are the result of the local budget process.  You must pay the collector all taxes and municipal charges up to and including the first quarter of the tax year.  Remember, the burden is on you, the appellant, to prove your assessment is unreasonable, excessive, or discriminatory.  It is necessary for you to prove at the onset that your assessment is in error.  It is also necessary for you to suggest a more appropriate value. The taxpayer must be persuasive and present evidence.  Credible evidence is evidence supported by fact, not assumptions or beliefs.  Photographs of both the subject property (the property subject to the appeal) and comparables are useful in illustrating your argument. Factual evidence concerning special circumstances is necessary.

      For example, if the property cannot be further developed for some reason, evidence must be provided. The most credible evidence is recent comparable sales of other properties of a similar type in your neighborhood. Remember, if you are going to discuss comparable sales, not less than three comparable sales shall be submitted to the Assessor, Clerk and County Tax Board at least one week prior to the hearing if not included with the petition of appeal.
      Sales of all properties (SR-1A's) are available for your review at the County Tax Board.  Comparable means most of the characteristics of your property and the neighboring sale are similar. You should be knowledgeable of the conditions of the sales you cite including financing and be able to give a  full description of the properties. 

      Some of the characteristics making your property comparable are:  recent sale price, similar square footage of living area measured from the exterior, similar lot size or acreage, proximity to your property, the same zoning use (e.g. duplex in a duplex zone), and similar age and style of structure, etc.
    • What is the basis for my Assessment Appeal?
      In order for an assessment to be deemed excessive or discriminatory, a taxpayer must prove an assessment does not fairly represent one of the two standards:

      Following a revaluation, all assessments must represent 100% of true market value as of the previous October 1 and is considered your “base year”. The October 1 pre-tax date is called the annual "assessment date". All evidence submitted in a tax appeal must be on or near the assessment date, especially property sales used a comparables.

      The other standard is the "common level" or common level range established in your municipality. To explain the common level range you must consider what happens following a revaluation or reassessment.

      Once a revaluation or reassessment is completed, external factors such as inflation, appreciation, and depreciation may cause values to increase or decrease at varying rates. Other factors such as physical deterioration may contribute to changes in property values. Obviously, if assessments are not adjusted annually, a deviation from 100% of true market value will occur. The State Division of Taxation annually conducts a fiscal year sales survey, investigating most property transfers that occur in your community, with your local assessor assisting. Every sale is compared individually to every assessment to determine an average level of assessment in a municipality.

      An average ratio is developed from a sampling of property sales to represent the assessment level in your community. In any year, except the year a revaluation or reassessment is implemented, the common level of assessment is the average ratio of the district in which your property is situated and is used by the Tax Board to determine the fairness of your assessment.
    • When are the Tax Appeal Hearings Held?
      Tax appeal hearings are generally held during the months of May, June and possibly July. Adjournments are not granted. It is suggested that you make every attempt to attend your hearing. If you miss your hearing and have not received a written notice postponing your case, you may assume the case has been dismissed. If you do not attend your hearing, your case will be dismissed "for lack of prosecution."
    • Where can I search Tax Assessment Records?
      Search Sussex County property assessments on-line by municipality, name, address, or block and lot.
    • Who is an Expert Witness?
      Besides your municipal assessor, anyone whose occupation is a State Certified real estate appraiser, and whose designation as such is from a legitimate association of professionals, is considered an expert. An expert's qualifications may be challenged by the municipal attorney at the hearing. In addition, if you intend to rely on expert testimony at your hearing, you must supply one copy of an appraisal report to the assessor and one copy to the Sussex County Tax Board no later than 7 days in advance of the scheduled hearing. The appraiser who completed the report must be available at the hearing to give testimony and to afford the municipality and Tax Board an opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Bank appraisals are NOT acceptable!
    • Will the Appeal be Private?

      All meetings of the Board of Taxation are public meetings.

County Clerk
Division of Health
Division of Senior Services
  • Library
    • Does the Sussex County Library System have a website?
      The Sussex County Library System website was updated in 2013 and provides access from home to the SCLS online catalog, schedule of upcoming library programs and events, various online databases, and much more. The website address is
    • Who is eligible for a Sussex County Library System card?
      Residents of Sussex County (except Sparta), Sussex County property owners including summer resident property owners (except Sparta), and students attending Sussex County schools (except Sparta) are eligible for a free 3-year card valid in all libraries in the Sussex County Library System. Non-resident individuals who work in Sussex County (except Sparta), hotel/motel residents of Sussex County (except Sparta), summer residents who rent property in Sussex County (except Sparta) and campground residents of Sussex County (except Sparta) are eligible for a free 1-year card valid in all libraries in the Sussex County Library System. A paid card ($50 annual fee) valid in all libraries in the Sussex County Library System is available to Sparta residents and residents of other counties or states.
    • Can Sussex County Library card be used in any other libraries?
      Yes. The library participates in a program called Open Borrowing. With your valid library card and green Open Borrowing sticker (obtained at any Sussex County Library), you can borrow materials at over 150 public libraries, including Sparta, in Northern New Jersey. You will need to know your PIN.
    • What resources and services does the Sussex County Library System offer?
      The Sussex County Library System has resources in many formats available for both children and adults, including books, DVDs, CD audiobooks, and video games. Online resources can be utilized around the clock and include downloadable ebooks, audiobooks and mp3 music, digital magazines available for your PC, tablet or smartphone, tools to learn a new language, software tutorials and research databases. Museum passes are available for checkout. Research assistance and technology help are available through the Reference Department. Special programs for adults and children are offered at all branches throughout the year, including a Summer Reading Club. Special collections include local history and genealogy, health information, and federal and state documents. For further information, contact the Main Library or any branch.
    • Does the Sussex County Library System offer public Internet access?
      Yes. The library system has high-speed Internet access at all libraries. Any person may sign up for a computer and have full access to the Internet. There are designated computers for teens and children.
    • Does the Sussex County Library offer wireless access?
      Yes. At all libraries.
    • What are the Sussex County Library System phone numbers?
      • Main Library (Frankford): 973-948-3660
      • Dennis Memorial Library (Newton): 973-383-4810
      • Dorothy E. Henry Memorial Branch Library (Vernon): 973-827-8095
      • Franklin Branch Library (Franklin): 973-827-6555
      • E. Louise Childs Memorial Branch Library (Hopatcong): 973-770-1000
      • Sussex-Wantage Branch Library (Sussex): 973-875-3940
    • Can the library obtain materials from other libraries?
      Yes. The library has an extensive inter-library loan program. You can go directly to the library’s website and request a book and other materials. You will need your library card and PIN. If you do not have access to a computer, you can contact the library staff and they will request the item for you. There is a shipping charge if the item comes from out of state.
    • Can materials be renewed?
      All materials can be renewed, either online or in-person. The only exceptions are new DVDs and materials that have been requested by other patrons.
    • Does the library have book clubs?
      Yes. The Main Library, the Dorothy Henry Branch, and the Louise Childs branches have book clubs. All are welcomed to join!
Mosquito Control
  • Mosquito Control
    • What animal diseases can mosquitoes cause?

      Both dogs and horses are possible hosts for mosquito-borne diseases.  Dog heartworm is a serious threat to canine life and is costly to treat once an animal becomes infected.  Dog heartworm can be transmitted by one of the mosquito species, the northern house mosquito, which also transmits West Nile Virus.  Horses are susceptible to both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  In Sussex County during the 2000 season, 3 horses died of West Nile Encephalitis.  Consult your veterinarian for the availability of horse vaccines.

    • What can Homeowners do?

      The most efficient method of controlling mosquitoes is by reducing the availability of water suitable for larval and pupal growth. Large lakes, ponds, and streams that have waves, contain mosquito-eating fish, and lack aquatic vegetation around their edges do not contain mosquitoes; mosquitoes thrive in smaller bodies of water in protected places. Examine your home and neighborhood and take the following precautions:

      ·Dispose of unwanted buckets and tires.

      ·Clean clogged roof gutters and drain flat roofs.

      ·Flush sump-pump pits weekly.

      ·Stock ornamental pools with fish.

      ·Change water in birdbaths, fountains, and troughs twice a week.

      ·Clean and chlorinate swimming pools; when not regularly used, they should be emptied.

      ·Turn over unused wading pools and other containers that tend to collect rainwater.

      ·Cover containers tightly with window screen or plastic when storing rainwater for garden use during drought periods.

    • What human diseases do mosquitoes cause?

      Mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, have plagued civilization for thousands of years. Organized mosquito control in the United States has greatly reduced the incidence of these diseases. However, there are still a few diseases that mosquitoes in New Jersey can transmit.   West Nile Virus is the newest introduced mosquito-borne virus but several other viruses have been in New Jersey for a long time including those that cause Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis.

Public Health Nursing
  • Public Health Nursing
    • What is Public Health Nursing?

      The mission of the Sussex County Office of Public Health Nursing is to protect and promote the health of the public through an integrated system of comprehensive health care services that meets the needs of individuals, families, and communities.

      Public Health Nursing, therefore, is a Sussex County Government Agency which provides disease prevention and health promotion services for residents living in the jurisdiction of the Sussex County Division of Health.

      To learn more about Public Health Nursing, and for a list of services offered by our office, please visit our web site at:

  • General
    • Where is the Sussex County Jail?

      The Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility opened in 1978. Learn what is required in order to visit someone incarcerated at the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility. Also includes information about inmate mail, personal property, accounts and phone calls.

      Keyword: Prisoner Jail Corrections correctional facility inmate visitation
Superintendent of Schools
Superior Court Divisions
  • Surrogate
    • Do I need a Will?
      The most important advantage of having a Will is that YOU direct exactly how your property should be distributed rather than having your property distributed according to the laws of the State of New Jersey.
    • How do I make a Will?
      A Will must be prepared within the legal technicalities prescribed by law so that it leaves no question regarding your intention. Many times a simple Will drawn by a layman raises questions of interpretation which must be resolved by expensive court proceedings. Your attorney might best be able to suggest ways of better implementing your intention.
    • What is a Will?
      A signed and witnessed document which, after your death, directs how your individually owned property will be distributed and who will be in charge of your property until it is distributed.