Monday, March 24, 2008

Aberdeen's Budget Turns a Loophole into a Noose

Click Here for the 2007 Budget
Click Here for the 2008 Budget

Last year, sensing they may finally lose power after a dozen years of control, the Aberdeen Democratic Executive Committee devised a simple yet effective strategy. I call it the “Spend, Don’t Tax” plan. First, they forced the school district to cut its proposed tax increase from 5% to 2.3% but allowed the district to retain all of the proposed spending increases. The township then used all its financial wizardry to postpone any tax increases until the following year.

Aberdeen's town council quickly publicized they were not raising taxes. They sent mailings to all residents, issued press releases, and adopted fiscal restraint as one of their election platforms (despite Aberdeen having the third highest tax rate in Monmouth County). The councilmen even garnered high praise from the local Independent. In an editorial titled “Aberdeen taxpayers get a break in 2007”, the paper said “the township’s leaders deserve recognition for keeping the tax rate in check . . .”

The gambit succeeded but barely. All four democratic candidates were elected but not one of them by a majority vote. And the taxpayers? We’re now getting hit simultaneously with the largest municipal tax levy increase and the largest asset depletion in Aberdeen’s 150-year history – An $871,487 tax increase (Sheet 3B) and a $1,259,316 loss of assets (Sheet 39), including a $600,000 withdrawal from the General Capital Fund (Sheet 10A).

The municipal tax levy is jumping 12% to $7.8 million in a $15.3 million overall budget. This translates into a 9.9 cent property tax increase for every $100 of assessed real property, or about $140 for the average homeowner on top of every other tax increase and a nearly 17% reduction in municipal assets.

This fiscal catastrophe was not caused by the state’s withdrawal of municipal aid. Following Aberdeen’s $210,000 loss in municipal aid, Mayor Sobel cut $179,000 from the budget. He insisted that taxes not go higher than 9.9 cents for the same reason that stores prefer to charge 99 cents rather than raise prices to the next dollar.

Joe taxpayer may be wondering how taxes could increase by 12% when the state imposed a 4% cap. Well, much of the budget is excluded from caps, such as the Capital Improvement Fund’s rise from $300,000 last year to $550,000 this year. (In fairness, the fund was cut during the 2007 election year.)

The budget was reviewed and certified as “CAP compliant” by the town’s “independent” auditor, Tom Fallon, whose office is located at Airport Plaza, the strip mall owned by Vic Scudiery, Chairman of the Monmouth County Democratic Party. His father is Charles Fallon, the former Treasurer of the Monmouth County Democratic Party who pleaded guilty to bribing then Hudson County Executive Janiszewski in exchange for government contracts. Fallon's family has also contributed thousands of dollars to the local Democratic party.

Since this year’s budget derives from last year’s fiscal bait and switch, let’s look at some of the increases over the past two years. Since 2006, pension payments have increased 147% for the Police & Fireman’s fund and 155% for the Public Employees' fund (Sheet 20). During the same period, Library maintenance has risen 22% (Sheet 20).

While the grant portion of the Safe & Secure Communities Program declined by 10%, the township’s matching portion rose to $201,457 from last year's $15,000 (Sheet 24A).

Debt service payments have increased 15% percent since 2006 and now account for 11% of the total budget (Sheet 27).

Deferred charges have exploded from $21,600 in 2006 to $248,600 today.

Meanwhile, those developers who are enrolled in the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program have been spared the council's wrath (Sheet 10).

I’m sure our elected representatives will be telling us how they exercise fiscal restraint but the truth is that taxes and corruption are choking the lifeblood from our community. I look forward to next year’s election when Mayor Sobel and his cohorts will be the ones left twisting in the wind.
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Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Congratulations on the addition to your family!

Anonymous said...

So let us see. The Aberdeen leadership in the middle of the budget process, development negotiations and more lets the man at the helm go, well they really forced him to resign. An act for which we can get no answers from our true and open governement in Aberdeen.

Now this same leadership begs, borrows and steals from us the taxpayers and we are supposed to let them be secretive, silent and arrogant in the process. What is that word, o'h yes:


You can't make this stuff up can you?

Anonymous said...

They forced him to resign ? Not according to the Mayoral Liar David Sobel. Sobel and all of the rest of them would'nt know the truth unless Norman Kauff (there is that name again) told them his version of the truth.

Norman Kauffs definition of the word truth is a simple one. Something that is defined as "all for one and all for Norman Kauff". That is Normans Version.

Anonymous said...

Off from work this week and thought I would check out the Aberdeener website.

Like what I see so far in reading this one about the Aberdeen budget and your former Manager. As a former municipal worker I saw this type of BS all of the time. It is a long way from the truth obviously. When will our elected officials stop serving themsleves?

I would agree with the comments about a recall effort and would have to say that such an idea, while very difficult to pull off, would not really work. To get all of those signatures takes a great effort and with people all too busy with their own lives, coupled with the total distrust of politicians, most people will not really get involved.

We are all better off putting our efforts into making sure these self serving types see the door close on them, instead of a pension.

They all suck !

Billy W. from Matawan

Anonymous said...

What is all of this agrivation and angst about Norman Kauff ?

Is he Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as I met him recently and thought he was nice.

Did I catch him on a good day or?

Respond to Kim from the I section.

Thank you


Anonymous said...

You don't know that you're taken by a good con-man until your bank account is empty. He has conned this town for 20 years. I thought he was nice when I first came to Aberdeen 12 yrs ago. Then I saw how he raped this town for his and Coren's retirements, how he screws anyone that isn't his puppet, and how much his antics with CME are costing all of us. I had to pay cME $1,000 in review fees to put in my swimming pool. Mr. Kauff and his bandits are evil.Did you check to see that you still had your watch after you met him?

Anonymous said...

Whoa is me whoa is me! What can we do except grin and bear it! We are lost in a sea of turbulence!

Bullshit ! Next council meeting go and tell them that they work for us and they are fired!

Otherwise SHUT UP!

Tired of reading the excuses on sites like this one where everyone complains. Will anybody stick their neck out? People complained that they shut Macalear up and gave him a job. More comments with no proof.

Stop complaining and do something, anything. This blog will not put Norman Kaupf and his kind out of business. This is New Jersey where politicians and scum like Kaupf feel entitled.

They all should feel the crack of the whip or at least the sound of a cell door behind them.

To paraphrase a once great man with promise "it's not what Aberdeen can do for you, it is what are you willing to do for your Aberdeen"?

Think about it!

Night shift in Wayne NJ

Anonymous said...

Macalear again just let him do his job. Where were all of you who criticize him when he was so vocal and concerned?

A person like Joe is looked upon as an albetros and a single voice in the dark. I may not agree with some of his concerns or tactics to get his points across in years past but the vast majority of topics and concerns he fought for has benefited Aberdeen.

Once again just let him do his job

Ken from the A section

Aberdeener said...

According to the township, last year's total asset numbers were artificially inflated by over a million dollars through sloppy bookkeeping. Makes me wonder if any of these financial reports are reliable.

Anonymous said...

Hey we just heard from a person who attended the last Aberdeen Council meeting and bravely questioned Mayor David Sobel about his close connection with Norman Kauff. Sobel responded that Norman Kauff was "his close personal friend". We think Sobel mis-spoke and meant to say "close personal benefactor".

Perhaps these two supposed close personal friends have not realized that in the next couple of years they will not be able to associate with each other.

You see convicted felons cannot associate with other convicted felons as a term of their probation upon their release from prison.

It is after all against the law, not that these two haven't broken any laws lately, not this week anyway. Then again this week is not over yet. We can only hope.

Lisa and Tom
Aberdeen Rd.

Anonymous said...

See I heard that the liar Mayor, David Sobel was hedging his answers on the forced removal of Stuart Brown.

Once a liar always a liar.

Mayor Sobel the truth shall set you free. Also Mayor Sobel don't worry prison is not so bad, you'll make friends I am sure.

GSP is calling, gotta go...

Anonymous said...

I am sure that Mayor Sobel and all of the rest of them are starting to hoard cigarettes already. That is the best thing to trade for and or use to keep the other prisoners out of your a_ _.

These helpful hints are sponsored by Middlesex Jim.

Matawan and proud. Mullaney you are next.

matawan advocate said...

Vic Scudiery seems to be everywhere. His influence in Matawan and Aberdeen is becoming very apparent. Councilman Mullaney sits with Scudiery on a hospital board. Mullaney attempts to pull the strings in Matawan with support from Scudiery. Anyone heard from former Mayor Aufseeser regarding how they threw her under the bus in Matawan in a Resolution passed by the Matawan Borough Council? To the best of our knowledge she didn't respond to the newspapers? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

We pay for the politicians bribery. The dollar$ to pay off the township manager so he won't go public why he resigned ( READ FIRED)with taxpayers money shouldn't be in the cost of running Aberdeen. It should come out of the pocket$ of the those who don't want him to speak out.