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GROWING UP IN GLOUCESTER CITY: In 1982 Two Upstanding Citizens Rebuked by City Mayor and Councilman

CORRECTED/UPDATED January 11, 2022 (see below)

 

William E. Cleary Sr. |  CNBNews Editor

In 1982 two long-time Gloucester City residents spoke out about the increase in the local purpose tax that year at the monthly City council meeting.

 

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At the time I hadn't covered too many of those meetings so I was surprised at the way the two Democrat politicians, Mayor Bill Gartland and Councilman Fred Anzide attacked these people for asking a question. After all, I thought didn't the politicians work for those residents?

 

One of the men complaining at that April 8, 1982 council meeting was Jim Durkin a retired city fireman who risked his life many times during his illustrious career protecting city residents.  The other man, Tony Ruggeri, was a retired Philadelphia Police Detective, who served with Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo when he was a cop. He lived on Lambert Drive. Both men were dedicated public servants and should have been given the respect they deserved,in our opinion.

 

The more experience I gained the more I learned that there was always one politician, school board member, department head that acted like they were better than the people they served. Because of their status in the community, they don't think anyone has a right to question their actions.  It is the nature of the beast, I guess. 

 

The problem still exist today. For example, a few weeks ago a comment was received via Typepad on the article we wrote about the schooner being sold.  It was signed, No Respect. The anonymous person stated in his comment: "I had some information I wanted to share about a local business breaking the law. I approached a city official who was in charge and told the person what I saw. Instead of thanking me, he told me to mind my own business."

 

Below you'll find the report on that 1982 council meeting. What should upset you is the problems that were raised by Durkin and Ruggeri still exist today. Any longtime resident will tell you that in the past 40 years there hasn't been one year that the city property tax and school tax hasn't increased. Likewise with the city's infrastructure, for whatever reason that problem hasn't gotten any better either;  it has gotten worst. 

 

At the bottom of that article there is a breakdown showing stats for  what each city department did over the past month.  Those reports include the numbers of calls for police, fire, ambulance, the amount water pumped, the number of traffic tickets issued etc. For some strange reason that information is no longer provided to the public by mayor or council. By not making the information public they are giving the impression that it is none of your business what those employees are doing.If you like to have that information made public again contact your newly elected representatives...

Mayor Dayl Baile, mayorbaile@cityofgloucester.org

Councilman Rob Page councilpage@cityofgloucester.org

Councilman Derek Timm counciltimm@cityofgloucester.org

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TWO RESIDENTS QUESTION COUNCIL ABOUT THE TAX BUDGET...the year 1982

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GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (April 1982)(GCN)--Although Gloucester City Council had set April 15 for the public hearing on this year’s tax budget, two residents let their feelings be known at the Thursday night meeting. James Durkin, a former fire chief, asked the council what the taxpayers were going to get for the nine-cent increase in their taxes.

    The tax rate will increase from 43 cents to 52 cents per $100 of the assessed valuation if the council approves the budget on the 15th. “I want to know,” said Durkin, “If we are going to get two trash collections back?” “At my home at the seashore they have three trash collections and I pay fewer taxes.”

    Mayor William E. Gartland said, “The tax increase is necessary to maintain the services residents are already receiving. I doubt that we will go back to two collections a week.”

Durkin said, “I’ve had it! I think we should be getting more for our money. Did you know that there has been a pothole on Brown Street for several months? The railroad crossings in the town are terrible. You people should have never let Conrail get away with the lousy job of resurfacing that they did two-year ago.” 

    Councilman Fred Anzide asked Durkin if the community he was referring to had a paid fire company. Durkin said no, however, he answered yes when asked if they had paid ambulance drivers and a library. Anzide said, “is this a full-time living community?” “No,” said Durkin, “it is six and six.” “Oh!,” said Anzide, “it is only a part-time community. Maybe you should move there."

    Anthony Ruggeri, also voiced his complaint against the increase. “Taxes are always going up,'' said Ruggeri, “we are paying more and getting fewer services.” “It is easy for you to sit there and always say yes. I have yet to hear one councilman ever dispute another one. Everything is automatic. I feel we are getting taxation without representation and furthermore, you people are doing a lousy job.”

    Azide responded, “If you know how the government works then you are aware that there are many long hours spent putting together a budget.” “I know this community and the resident's ability to pay and when I put together a budget I keep this in mind."

    “Our budget went up only five percent this year, yet we are faced with rising costs. Last year it cost $37,000 to dump the trash, this year it will cost $75,000. We have a built-in minimum increase of seven percent for city workers and we also have mandated costs, such as work man's comp. The community should be glad that the council is working together and not running a three-ring circus. It is not fair for you to criticize us for taking a unanimous vote,” Anzide concluded.

    “I am entitled to my opinion, said Ruggeri, the same as you are and I don’t like to see everyone agree all the time, it just isn’t healthy.”

In other business councils approved on first reading an ordinance to regulate coin-operated amusement games. They also instructed Francis Gorman, city treasurer, to hold a public sale of two properties. One is located at the southwest corner of Third and Jersey avenue and the other is at the corner of Cumberland Street and Victoria Place. The sale will be held on Monday, April 26, at 1 p.m., in the municipal building, 512 Monmouth Street.

    The council honored Gloucester Catholic and Gloucester High girls basketball teams, Gloucester Catholic won the state championship and Gloucester High won the Tri-County. General Inspection Service of Westville was named the on-site electrical inspection agency for the city.

    Judge Lewis J. Feingold reported by letter that a total of $13,656 was collected in fines and costs during the month of March. Of that amount, $9,903 was from traffic court and $3,752 was from criminal court. The breakdown reveals $6,521 was turned over to the city; $5,206 to the county and $1,928 to the state. 

    Chief of Police Stephen J. Farrell reported a total of 710 traffic tickets issued during the month of which 528 were for blocking the sweeper. Also, there were 21 juvenile arrests, 47 criminal arrests, and 29 traffic accidents. 

    The water department pumped a total of 55,389,000 gallons of water, the street department spent $29,638 for the collection of trash and the cleaning of streets, and the construction code officially issued permits totaling $130,780.

    The fire department answered 74 alarms of which 11 were false. The city ambulance answered 152 calls. Highland Park ambulance, five and the Rescue Squad, 31.

~ published here by gloucestercitynews.net ~

 

The above was Reprinted from the Gloucester City News, April 8, 1982, it was written by William E. Cleary Sr.

Today Cleary is the editor and owner of CNBNews...https://www.gloucestercitynews.net

   

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