Monday, September 20, 2010

I Resign

I have informed the officers of the school board, the superintendent, and our board secretary, that I intend to resign from my position as board member of the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District.

Furthermore, I am selling my residence and leaving Aberdeen Township.

I respectfully request that members of our teachers union and supporters of our governing town council refrain from dancing in the middle of the streets. :)

As for this blog, I'm not done, yet. Not at all. :) >>> Read more!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Question of Competence

Nearly nine months into the fiscal year, Aberdeen Township passed a budget. Woo hoo! Mayor Tagliarini spoke proudly over the township’s ability to deliver a double-digit tax increase, the largest tax increase in Aberdeen Township’s history, “without furloughs and without layoffs”. The same mayor who damned the school district for requesting a 1% tax increase has now levied an 11.4% tax increase on top of the sewer fee increase. And, contrary to the school district cutting expenses, spending has increased 2.6%.

According to the article, the township partly blames the budget increase on a decrease in state aid. Either that’s a typo or another sign of the fiscal insanity that has plagued Aberdeen.

Pensions jumped, naturally, after a one-shot payment deferral last year that Mayor Tagliarini characterized as a “decrease in spending”. As expected, debt payments rose by $118,000 – gotta pay for that missed pension payment, not to mention all the debt from our vaunted road program.

About that road program, “the governing body did not want to discontinue its road program, a move very important to Deputy Mayor Vincent Vinci.” Looks like CME Associates has a champion on the town council. Guess they’ll keep getting their million dollar-plus service fees each year. Maybe that’s why CME, along with our town attorney and Anchor Glass developer, have cosponsored Aberdeen Day. Such generosity, such gratitude, who cares if they plunder our town a little? Unless, of course, you happen to be a homeowner.

Sadly, it looks like the good times may be coming to an end. As shown in the chart below, the township is quickly burning through our reserves. At this rate, we’ve only got one more year before we’ve completely exhausted our surplus. We hit asset depletion in five years. At some point, our bond rating will drop and financing our CME-approved roads will become a whole lot more expensive.

Values are in millions
Year-End Surplus

However, our councilmen aren’t concerned. They figure if we’re ever in trouble, we’ll just mug the library, again.

Unfortunately, even the budget numbers are suspect. Each budget publishes the prior year’s “Surplus Balance – December 31st”. Since the budget is published months later, it should be an easy thing to know how much money is in our bank accounts at the end of the prior year. But we don’t. As the next chart shows, each year’s end-year surplus is revised; 2007’s surplus was revised by a whopping $300,000.

Values are in thousands
Original Surplus
Revised Surplus

Our town council has retained a lawyer who blatantly lied to the council and the public stating COAH would immediately withdraw Aberdeen’s certification. (Further proof of the lie can be seen from Marlboro’s loss of COAH certification. Marlboro’s de-certification was on COAH’s agenda whereas no such decision was ever scheduled for Aberdeen.)

Our town council has retained another lawyer who threatened local residents with police force after the townspeople objected to his denying their right to speak at a public meeting.

Our town council has recently re-appointed a felon convicted of attempting to bribe an IRS auditor to be our lead developer on the transit village.

Our town council claimed we had no choice but to accept a massive low-income housing development on County Road only to see the developers voluntarily work with the Cliffwood Housing Association to scale-down the project.

At some point, you begin to question the council’s competence. If only they were as good at running our township as they are at getting themselves elected. At the very least, they should earn their council salaries.

On a final note – Kudos to the township employees for accepting a wage freeze. I wish other public employees had done the same. >>> Read more!