Bill’s Point of View:
By Bill Cleary
It is upsetting to think that you work all your life to pay off your 30-year home mortgage and after it is paid you still have to fork out thousands to the government to live in your home. Residing in a state that has the highest property taxes in the nation doesn’t help I know. I asked one of many friends who moved from NJ to the other side of the river how much he pays in property and school taxes.
Bill Y. writes “Our house is located in Kent County Delaware and it is zoned agricultural, but even the homes that are not zoned agricultural still have reasonable taxes. Our house has two bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths, living room, dining room, den, kitchen, open front porch and enclosed rear porch. It is situated on 11.5 acres and we own to the middle of a creek, called Fisherman's creek. Our taxes are $515 per year which includes a school tax. In Delaware when you reach the age of 65 years the school tax we pay gets cut in half. In the nearby town residents living on a single lot with a bungalow pay around $650 a year that number includes the school taxes. Delaware has no sales tax but we pay a higher tax on our gasoline.”
Bill Y. is a former resident of Gloucester City.
And then we have the Gloucester City resident who is happy her school
taxes are going to increase because she can keep her free babysitting service (Cold Springs Pre-School). From ClearysNoteBook comments, “Some of us who have young children and both parents work needed this passed. For the rest of you don’t complain if you didn’t VOTE. I got everyone I could to vote yes. Why should I pay for day care when we already have this set up (Cold Springs Pre-School) in town. I pay my taxes, $5300 a year”.
I am sure senior citizens living on fixed incomes are happy to hear that their school taxes are being used to supply a babysitting service. Supposedly the Gloucester City School system employs 70 teachers’ aides, no doubt some of who are working in the pre-school.
As I said some people just don’t get it.
Since I complain about our taxes being too high it has been suggested to me on many occasions by some municipal workers, teachers, and firefighters that I should pack up and move. They told me my wife and the two dogs can stay. Unless this state makes some changes in the tax laws their wish for me to move to another state may happen sooner than you think.
INNOVATIVE CHANGES ARE NEEDED
State and local governments need to come up with innovative ways to save money. Governor Christie has said if the service is listed in the telephone book then that is the way to go. For example the City of Gloucester City has been paying city workers time and half on Saturday every other week to cut the grass at Chatham Square Apartments. Instead of having city workers to do that job, hire a private contractor which is what Christie is suggesting when he reference the yellow pages/telephone book. Bid out the snow removal also. No doubt you could do both jobs for less.
When I found out about this I asked Gloucester City Administrator Jack Lipsett why city employees were working on Saturday at Chatham Square. Lipsett said the grass was a foot high and it had to be cut. When asked why it couldn’t be cut on a Monday paying employees straight time, “I don’t know, this system was set up before I got here. The job of cutting the grass will soon be taken over by the contractor (Oren Brothers of Philadelphia) hired by council to develop those apartments.”
LAYOFFS IN GLOUCESTER CITY; $1.3 MILLION BUDGET SHORTFALL
Gloucester City NJ- Mayor and Council announced at Thursday’s meeting that between 15 and 20 people will be laid off because of a $1.3 million budget shortfall in this year’s spending plan. Since the fire department has the most employees (23 firefighters and 10 supervisors) and a $4 million budget that department will see the most cuts said the mayor. “All departments will be cut”.
Councilman Marchese, finance chairman, and a member of the contract negotiating team, said for the last three years the union reps for the police and fire have been asking for a pay increase (firefighters want an 8 percent raise) and we told them we have no money. “And if they want to avoid layoffs then they need to agree to our terms of no pay increases”. Marchese said in the past that $11 million of the City’s $18 million budget goes towards employee salaries and benefits.
The contract talks between the police union (PBA) and the City is in arbitration as is the contract talks with the firefighters (FMBA). According to City solicitor John Kearney the cost for arbitration so far is $13,000 ($10,000 for police and $3,000 for firefighters). “I know the City will win as there is no money to pay for any raises. Instead of the City being able to use this money to help fund the budget the unions are forcing the city to waste money to have me represent council.”
You can view the meeting on the Local TV Channel 19 and or read Sara Martino’s council story in this weeks’ Gloucester City News.
Gloucester City has approached Camden County to take over the local library. Bellmawr for example is run by the Camden County Library system. The City’s request comes at the same time that Gov. Christie’s is calling for a 74 percent decrease in Statewide funding for libraries.
NO TAX INCREASE FOR GLOUCESTER RESIDENTS…MAYBE!
Administrator Lipsett was asked whether the new City budget ($16,984,500) passed on first reading Thursday night will increase taxes. “If everything falls in place there should be none”. The administrator gave no further details. Repeated calls to Finance Chairman Marchese were not returned as of this posting.