Work Will Begin Monday on Removal of Dams from Raritan River
Your Money: $70,000 Grant for Camden to Study Stormwater Infrastructure

Tax & Spend Gov., NJ Unemployment Rises, City Employees Receive Raise, Rams Alumnus Honored, Fixing Up Costello School, Taxes Due

 

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BY BILL CLEARY

 

THE HELL WITH THE TAXPAYER-Last week the Essex County Freeholder Board, Taxpayer voted 7-0 to renew the County’s $675,000 contract with insurance broker Conner Strong and Buckelew, a firm headed by South Jersey political boss George E. Norcross. In return the firm will help the County find health and prescription insurance coverage for their employees. Your cost for the employees health plan this year, $72 million. In February, state Comptroller Matthew Boxer estimated that Essex County would have saved $9.5 million in 2009 and 2010 had it opted for the state health plan, according to the comptroller’s audit. Also during that two year period, Essex County paid Norcross’ firm $750,000 in fees. The County would have incurred no broker fees had it opted for the state plan, Boxer said.

 

NJ UNEMPLOYMENT RATE RISES ...AGAIN-New Jersey's unemployment rate climbed to 9.6 percent in June, up from 9.2 percent in May in the sharpest monthly increase since the 2009 recession, according to data released by the state labor department on July 19. The gap between New Jersey's unemployment rate and the U.S. average — 8.2 percent — has now grown to its widest level in decades. Nevada had the nation's highest unemployment rate in June at 11.6 percent.

 

GLOUCESTER CITY EMPLOYEES RECEIVE RAISE- Council approved a 2.5 percent raise for 16 employees with the following titles. Assistant director of public works ($91,994), chief financial officer ($81,036), chief housing inspector ($66,010), chief of police ($104,882), city administrator ($105,500), city clerk ($69,967) court administrator ($68,155) deputy chief of police ($100,943), fire chief ($99,012) project assistant to government body ($32,633) tax collector ($70,808) UEZ coordinator ($73,544) recycling program aide ($4,500) zoning official ($3,106) typing clerk ($2,500) field rep. property improvement ($50,909).

 

Total cost to you, the taxpayer for those 16 salaries, $1,025,499.

 

GLOUCESTER CATHOLIC ALUMNUS HONORED-Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia announced that its new baseball field on the James J. Maguire '58 Campus has been named John W. Smithson Field. The University's Interim President during the past academic year, Smithson played for the Hawks from 1965 to 1968 and was inducted into the Saint Joseph's Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Smithson graduated from Gloucester Catholic High School, Gloucester City with the class of 1964. He received his MBA from Saint Joseph’s in 1982.

Gloucester City Public School District received a $450,000 grant from you the taxpayers to install a fire suppression system in the basement of the Mary Ethel Costello School thus bringing the building up to code. The funds will also be used to complete masonry repairs to the building’s chimney, according to the state Schools Development Authority.

The state earlier this year approved construction of a new $60 million middle school for Gloucester City, but local officials have said the M.E. Costello school building is to remain in use. Incidentally, Highland Park School, Highland Blvd. and Park Ave.,  remains vacant even though $5 million of your money was spent a few years ago to make repairs on that building.

TAX AND SPEND-Third quarter taxes are due in Gloucester City on August 1 however because bills were not mailed within 25 days of the due date the Tax Collector has been authorized to extend payment for City residents to August 29.

 

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