Monday, April 29, 2013

More Taxes for Everyone

"Those are just some of the things that the town provides to the residents for essentially $121 a month," Councilman Gregory Cannon said. "That's less than my cable bill." – Matawan-Aberdeen Patch, March 25, 2013

Give Councilman Cannon credit for saying what everyone on the council was thinking. “Don’t worry. You can afford another tax increase. Taxes too high? It’s not our fault. We spend so little. We really are doing a great job spending your money.”

I wonder if there’s a single homeowner whose cable bill is higher than his property taxes.

Oh, you say, I make an unfair comparison. After all, the municipality only controls municipal taxes. It’s not the council’s fault that you’re also taxed for school, county, fire, sanitation, and sewage.

I think the comparison is quite fair.

First, the “average” homeowner pays far more than $121 a month once you exclude apartments and condos from the mix. (No offense to Councilman Cannon.)

Second, the council budget is $16.3 million, $5.6 million above the tax levy. Where does Councilman Cannon think that money comes from if not the taxpayer? And even that number doesn’t include the two fire districts, over another million dollars a year. Nor does the budget include the full cost of the road program, millions a year paid with IOUs. Debt payments have skyrocketed 15% in one year and now account for nearly a tenth of the budget.

And what happened to the reserves? In 2006, the township had $7.6 million in reserves. Now, it’s half that.

As for the school district, the fact that it costs an average $15,000 to educate one child hasn’t discouraged the township one whit from residential housing. But all the non-residential development, those projects that would actually reduce property taxes, have been in “development” for a decade. Then again, what can you expect when the town engineer is bankrolling every election.

Of course, council members can shield themselves from tax increases by voting salary increases for themselves, which they do.

Total municipal spending including all the township’s branches of government, is over $50 million a year or, using Councilman Cannon’s “average homeowner”, about $600 a month. That’s awfully close to the "average" property tax bill not to mention a lot of cable.

Here’s a different comparison for Councilman Cannon – How many councilmen have municipal salaries higher than their property taxes? Maybe they should learn to pay their own property taxes like everybody else >>> Read more!