Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Aberdeen’s Hapless Republicans

The Aberdeen Republican Party has a long history of fielding weak candidates without a winning campaign strategy. Continuing the trend, this year’s flag bearer is Michael Canberg, a new resident and community organizer with a troubled financial history.

Canberg rose to local fame after triumphantly blocking the expansion of a Jewish school in Cliffwood. He successfully cobbled together a coalition of those opposed to development, opposed to burdening the public school district, and opposed to Jews from Lakewood "ruining the neighborhood".

Having acquired a name for himself, Canberg’s fellow republicans nominated him for mayor without regard for his personal history.

In May, 2017, a sheriff seized Canberg’s house in Manalapan. According to the Deed of Foreclosure, Tropicana Casino and Resort is listed among those parties with a prior interest in the house, which might explain Canberg’s history of personal bankruptcies.

The county lists either a tax sale or foreclosure lispendens (notice of foreclosure) against Canberg in 1997, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2015. In other words, from the year Canberg became an adult (1997) to the present.

Yet, the Republican Party doesn’t realize the irony of making Aberdeen’s debt (which is enormous) the centerpiece of its campaign.

At this point, I’d recommend the Aberdeen Republican Party reorganize as a church since it’s obviously a faith-based organization.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mostly True

It’s election season in Aberdeen and the Democrats are wagering they can extend their two-decade monopoly on the town council.

Statements on Facebook purporting to be from the candidates warrant a response.

“In the case of the Glassworks, 85% of the property is not part of a PILOT and will just pay ordinary taxes from day one.

Glassworks is being built in stages. The 85% refers to the entire development but the PILOT only refers to the first stage. Nothing precludes the township from offering additional PILOTs for the later stage developments.

Furthermore, PILOT is only one of many ways to reduce a developer's cost. For example, the township had a practice of not assessing a property until a certificate of occupancy was issued. Since the developer didn’t request a C of O until the property was under contract, properties were nearly tax free until they were sold. Other likely benefits include scale of development, variances, infrastructure support, and ignoring violations.

In short, we don’t know what concessions the township is providing to the developer or whether they are appropriate.

“[P]eople confuse the fact that the the PILOT Payment on the 15% does not get shared with the school district with the notion that they're paying no taxes. And there's nothing that we can do on the local level to change that. The State Redevelopment Law says that it doesn't go to the schools.”

This is only half true. When the Jefferson (Avalon at Aberdeen Station) units were built, the township granted the school district $200,000 annually to cover the expenses from the handful of students residing in the new development. At the time, arguments were made the school district was entitled to its fair share of revenue but at least the township didn’t create a hardship for the schools. The new developments specifically call for family housing. The township did not fully weigh the financial burden or educational impact on the schools nor offer any grants from the PILOT money to offset the costs of the additional students.

“The town has only two imperfect tools to incentivize a developer to take down an abandoned factory or clean up an environmental mess: PILOTS and Abatements.”

Not true. How ironic to hear the Democratic leadership argue the only way to promote economic activity is through tax cuts to the wealthy.

As discussed above, there are numerous ways to entice development. Church St. development went from age-restricted housing to age-restricted and familly housing.

Manhattan has some of the highest taxes, restrictions, and burdens in the country yet there’s development throughout the city because the land is valuable. Aberdeen has a beautiful shoreline, parks, highway access, a train station, and boundless opportunity for improvement. Raise property values and developers will come begging.

To argue that taxes are the only way to entice development, suggesting it was the only thing negotiated between the developers and the township, says two things:
1) Cover up
2) The town council likes dropping their pants

“We made a deal with RPM Development whereby they would clean it up on their dime, help us clean up the adjacent lot, and in return, they got the property (which had negative value) for $1 and a PILOT agreement for the same term as the repayment of the money RPM borrowed to clean up the property.”

If true, that means RPM got the land for free plus a virtual tax credit equal to the cost of the cleanup. In other words, they got the land at no cost. Somebody made lots of money on that deal.

“[T]he PILOT payment goes directly into the municipal general budget and directly, dollar-for-dollar, lowers the residents' property tax levy - just like any other miscellaneous revenue. Now, you can say this is unfair to the schools, but it literally makes no monetary difference to a resident. Their four quarterly payments are going to be reduced by the PILOT revenue - the only difference is whether their municipal taxes are lower or their school taxes are lower. It's a zero-sum game regardless.”

Pure propaganda.

The notion that the township gets to pocket the revenue while the school district bears the cost “makes no difference” is shameful. It means the township does not recognize nor cares about the burden it places on the school district. And it assumes Aberdeen is a town of idiots.

Of course it matters whether money goes to the township or the school district. The township has far fewer restraints on increasing spending and far greater incentives to encourage development than the school district. This PILOT money will go towards municipal spending, not tax relief. The school district will get another influx of students without sufficient funding for them. The township will debate how to spend more money while parents and students fight over scarce resources.

And the school district is called Matawan-Aberdeen for a reason. A third of the school won’t be benefiting from the township’s munificence. Cardinal rule of getting along – Don’t piss upstream from your neighbors.

“Finally, people ask: why everything at the same time?”

Not exactly. People are asking why so much over development at the same time.

We know the answer to that question. With all due deference to Jessie J (Price Tag), it is all about the money, money, money. 
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Borrow Now, Borrow Later

It's local election season again and time for another Republican drumming. Should the Republicans choose to win an election rather than just run for the heck of it, here's a place they might try looking.

Aberdeen's Financial Statement to refinance its debt obligations.
  • From 2012 to 2016, the municipal tax rate increased 17% (Page A-6)
  • From 2012 to 2016, municipal spending increased 20% (Page A-7)
  • Municipal debt is $26.9 million, 144% of the annual budget (Page A-9)
  • From 2012 to 2016, municipal debt service increased 63% to $2.175 million per year and now accounts for 11.6% of the total budget (Page A-7)
Those numbers will worsen as interest rates increase. Now, you know why the township is so gung-ho on development. The money is already spent. 

Below is a letter I received that I'm re-printing with the author's permission.

N.J. "Oath of Office" or is it the "Oath of Abuse of Office"?

I _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the State of New Jersey; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Governments established in the United States and in this State, under the Authority of the people; and that I will faithfully, impartially and justly perform al the duties of the office of ___ according to the best of my ability, and that I will not use my office to grant preferential treatment, nor to seek personal gain, favor, or advantage not available to the general public. (so help me God* opt).

Keywords: I swear, support, defend, Constitution of the United States, true faith, allegiance, faithfully, impartially, justly, best of my ability, not use my office to grant preferential treatment, not seek personal gain or advantage not available to the general public.

Are any of these "keywords" the truth of the decisions, votes, and spending of our taxpayer dollars to not have truly brought community wide beneficial actions by our elected Democrat only officials "Oath of Office" in Aberdeen? Many in Aberdeen say "absolutely not" from simply looking around our town you can see that the "Oath of Office" sworn to by our Democrat only leadership was more truthfully an "Oath of Abuse of Office" that betrayed the entire Aberdeen community.

Many stores in Aberdeen have been closing up operations (despite an Aberdeen Economic Business Council supposedly formed to help all of the towns businesses equally). Our neglected beach areas promised to be improved that campaigns labeled "The Jewel of Aberdeen". More truthfully our "Jewel" of a beachfront areas have been ignored (despite 2017 campaign year "promise of a new Water Park). Over 15 years of photo ops and failed political promises.

More proof of the past two decades of Democrat only “promises” to bring our town senior housing and "lower taxes through "smart development" with constant campaign promises that "this next building development will finally bring a Main Street to Aberdeen". That Main Street "promise'' of course never happened for decades. The current building surge no doubt will also be used in Democrat campaign 2017 literature as "progress" but it will be very costly "progress" under the equally questionable and manipulated PILOT Program that strips our Schools of much needed tax monies from such politically controlled and approved building projects.

In Aberdeen was the "Oath of Office" so often taken by our leaders been a citizen betraying "Oath of Abuse of Office? Was the "Oath just empty words for decades with politicized photo-ops and political lies and tricks to maintain corrupt political control? We in Aberdeen

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