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CNB Tips/Snippets: Update on N.J. Water Quality; More Reasons for Gloucester City's Tax increase

 CNBNews Point of View:

CNB Tips and Snippets:

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNewsnet

UPDATE ON CHROMIUM-6 WATER PROBLEM—It was widely reported across the state of N.J. recently that the quality of water in some communities in the state, according to the

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source Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Environmental Working Group (EWG), was contaminated with chromium-6, a cancer-causing chemical. 

Some of the South Jersey communities mentioned in the EWG report included Gloucester City, Haddon Township, Collingswood, Camden City, West Deptford, Deptford, Woodbury.

(For the complete list click here)

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says the levels in Garden State water are too low to present any real health threat. 

DEP spokesman Larry Hajna called the EWG report “irresponsible” for its lack of scientific data and said the proposed 0.2 parts per billion standards “may not be realistic.”

There are two types of naturally occurring chromium: trivalent chromium, which has numerous health benefits, and hexavalent chromium, which can be a carcinogen. Trivalent chrome is found geologically, Hajna said and can convert to hexavalent chromium when exposed to oxygen. It can also revert back to trivalent chromium.

The majority of the levels of chromium-6 in New Jersey are “really small,” Hajna said.

“These very tiny trace amounts can even be coming just from this reactive process or fixtures in the plumbing but not at levels… that would be of great concern,” Hajna said. (source 101.5 news radio, No Need to Fear)

EWG was contacted for a response to  Haina’s remarks. The authors of the report say the danger to the public is real. 

David Andrews, Ph.D., EWG senior scientist, and co-author of the report said,  

“The EWG report summarizes the results of the national sampling for chromium-6 conducted by water utilities with the results compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

 The EPA drinking water standard for chromium was established in 1991 based on the potential for skin rashes and has not been updated to reflect recent science. 

 Our report details the studies on animals conducted by the National Toxicology Program that found chromium-6 to be a carcinogen. 

NJ DEP scientists and state scientists in California used these results to calculate a safe level of chromium in drinking water that represents a minimal risk or 1 excess cancer per million population over a lifetime. 

 Concerns about the lack of scientific data should be directed to the federal EPA. Concerns that water treatment facilities may find the public health goal unrealistic should be addressed in conversation with water users.

At the end of the day, a drinking water regulation or standard should be as close to the public health goal as possible. "

Bill Walker, EWG managing editor and co-author of the report said,  

 “What NJDEP is not telling you is that the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute in 2010 determined a Health-Based Maximum Contaminant Level for chromium-6 in water of 0.06 pub -- just a few hundredths of a ppb higher than California. “(www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/pdf/minutes100910.pdf). 

“Our source, a former NJDEP employee named Bill Wolfe, says that the NJDEP refused to move forward to set a legal limit based on that number. Why? 

"The NJ state legislature is now considering a bill that would require DEP to set limits for chromium-6 and a dozen other chemicals within six months, and consider the findings of the Institute. (http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/09/08/lawmakers-push-state-dep-to-set-limits-for-toxic-chemicals-in-water-supply/

"Does the Christie administration, of which DEP is part, support the bill?"

A LONG, LONG, LONG TIME AGO members of the Gloucester City Democratic council Commentaryactually knew how to manage the city's finances. In fact, one group reduced  taxes for four years in a row. Unlike those Democratic council members running the city today who have been piling up debt for the past nine years and continually increase your local purpose tax. 

The following is taken from the Democratic Council November 4, 1961 campaign literature:

“Despite the continuously rising costs of utilities, services and material and the much needed increases in salaries for city employees the member of  Common Council are very proud to once again be able to reduce the local purpose tax rate. This is the fourth reduction in the past five years.”

 Although taxes keep going up every year in Gloucester City there has been no real outcry from the public despite the fact that 23 percent of the population have incomes below the poverty level. Many of those individuals live in one of the 2,000 rental properties in the City which could be the reason why they don't seem to care.

Residents living in  nearby Gloucester Township were so outraged by their 12 percent increase in taxes this year they called for members of council to resign. (See Gloucester Township residents push back against tax hike) 

Watch :Gloucester Township Residents Protest Tax Increase

 

  Jpeg of dems newspaper

 

 

 

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Property taxes in Gloucester City this year increased by 10 percent, despite  the state’s 6a00d8341bf7d953ef01b7c731d077970b2010 law that capped increases in taxes to just two percent. 

According to The Asbury Park Press, property tax hikes top two percent in more than 40 percent of New Jersey municipalities each year because of cap exceptions.

The 2010 cap law significantly reduced the number of exceptions to the tax cap, but it kept some in place, including exceptions for increased costs for pensions, health benefits, debt, construction, and emergencies. 

Theoretically, the more debt your town has, the more they can increase taxes above the CAP.

Gloucester City Democratic Mayor William James has controlled city council since he assumed office in 2007.  He was re-elected in 2010 and 2014.  Municipal Taxes have increased every year since he has been in office except in 2012. Although the local purpose tax didn't increase that year, the local school tax and the Camden County tax did. 

A breakdown of the city’s debt service, water, and sewer debt service,  public employees and police and firemen retirement fund shows a steady increase in each line item every since 2006 up until the present.  

For example:

  • The city’s debt service went from $795,482 in 2006 to $899,969 in 2016, an increase of  $104,487

 

  • The city’s water and sewer debt service went from $912,921 in 2006 to $1,325,607 in 2016 an increase of $412,686

 

  • The city’s contribution to the public employee's retirement fund went from $58,205 in 2006 to $404,855 in 2016  an increase of $346,650

 

  • The city’s contribution to the police and firemen’s retirement fund went from $314,809 to $1,312,671 in 2016 and increase of  $997,682

source Gloucester City

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ET CETERA-Mark your calendars. The Second Annual Brooklawn Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, October 15 from noon to dusk at the Brooklawn Waterfront and Timber Blvd.Craft vendors who are interested in being a part of this year's festival can click the 2 links below to download the registration forms. Entry fee is $15 Make checks payable to Borough of Brooklawn. Mail or drop off in person  Borough of Brooklawn 301 Christiana St. Brooklawn, NJ 08030. Attention: Fall Festival. Email questions to: Brooklawnfallfestival@yahoo.com (space is limited)

 

 

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