Funkhouser and Robinson are the right choice for GT Fire Dist 6 in Erial

Gloucester Township, Camden County. Feb 14, 2019

In the only contested Fire Commissioner race within the 6 Gloucester Township fire districts, The GTNews supports candidates, Steve Funkhouser, and Brian Robinson
District 6 Fire Commissioners.

The service that the Erial fire company has provided the residents has been stellar, but just as outstanding, has been their ability, to look out for the local district 6 taxpayers.
Even with the purchase of a new vehicle, they not only did not raise fire/property taxes, but they went down slightly.

Besides their US Coast Guard, and US Marine, experience, their expertise, devotion, and dedication puts them head and shoulders above the inexperience, of their challengers.
Now is not the time for "on the job" training, when we have Funkhouser and Robinson already here.

GTNews sees this race as a slam dunk for the people of District 6.

Mortgage escrow shortage again? Time to stop "banking the 2% CAP , and "open space" abuse, in Gloucester twp and around the state of NJ.

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ January 9, 2019

It happens time and time again. Every year you get a notice from your mortgage company, telling you that your mortgage escrow is short, $200-$600.
You can choose to either, make a lump sum payment or your mortgage payment goes up again. One of the main reasons that happens is your PROPERTY TAXES went up again.
There are a handful of items that make up your property taxes, but no matter what they ALL keep going up. Local, regional schools, Fire, county, and local.

The state of New Jersey has what's called a 2% tax CAP on all counties, and municipalities, which means that they can not raise taxes over 2% in any given year. That all sounds good for taxpayers until you find out the loopholes, and how local politicians get around that.

A perfect example of this is a regular practice in Gloucester Township, Camden county. It is so well practiced, that it has become easily predictable for those that pay attention.
In Gloucester Township, you can predict that they will pass bonds in an election year, so as not to visually indicate a tax increase. Every other year, elections are held for 4 council seats, and in every other odd year, Mayor and 3 council seats are up. So in those election years, they will continue to spend, as if it isn't their money, and it's not, but they way that they pay for it in the way of bonds. Keep in mind that one of their friends, and donors makes a generous commission on bonds. So they run up the taxpayer's credit cards while "no raising taxes".

In the meantime, while not raising the state maximum 2% in taxes that borrowing year, they "BANK" the 2% CAP. This means that they can raise it that same 2% another year along with the additional 2% that year. The state allows them to bank that CAP up to 4 years. So in a normal election cycle, that works out perfect for those up for re-election. This was done in prior years in GT. Most will remember the 9% increase just 4 years after the Mayor and council raised it 4 years prior, and hefty 26%, before the CAP was put in place.

This banking practice, allowed by the state is being over used by local politicians.

Speaking of abuse, Gloucester Township and Camden county tax residents an additional 2% every year for what is CALLED "open space". To define open space in it's simplest form,is to say that a lot of money is taken from taxpayers to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with a piece of land. The current use by CamCo and GT, is an adventure all in itself. What it was designed for, and the way that it is abused now, is an understatement.

May it be overpriced astro turf. concession stands, sports facilities, or other high end, overpriced items, it tends to contradict, "open space". It is also intended to mislead and confuse, and the twp has been known to borrow for the same thing that they bonded and borrowed for, later is labeled as "open space" or grant money, so multiple sources, but the amounts are the same, to 2 times the amount of the project, but that's what makes the money trail intentionally harder to follow.

With all of that abuse being said, the equally troubling part is the 2 local NJ Assembly representatives that not only allow this to go on, but encourage it.
NJ Legislators in the 4th district, Gabriela Mosquera (D) (Gloucester Twp), along with Paul Moriarty (D) (Washington Twp), could easily introduce legislation to end this absurd practice of "banking" the 2% CAP and stop the practice of piling up future tax increases to their residents. They could also set the open space program straight and back on it's intended course, or end the annual extortion like tax burden to the taxpaying residents. Both Moriarty and Mosquera are seen usually at some public awards, or recognition ceremony, but mostly they stay out of sight. With the state of New Jersey having the highest number of departing residents, you won't be able to count of either of them to bring any relief to the taxpayers.

So, be it the "open space" or 2% CAP, you can count on your local politicians, to abuse them, and your Assembly representatives to continue to feed them the ability to do so.
The forecast is very bleak, and no relief is in sight.

Is Gloucester Twp residents public safety at risk? Why no media coverage at all on this?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ Saturday December 29, 2018

(Op-Ed Page)
When rumors had been floating around, no one really thought that it could be so. That the EMT services of Gloucester Township were "shut down", or with inadequate services, due to what has been referred to as failed inspections. As sightings of Washington Twp, and surrounding area EMS vehicles became more common, it seemed that there was more to it then maybe just rumor.

On Wednesday December 26th, Sam Sweet brought that very question to the Gloucester Township council. In response to that question, council President Orlando Mercado in uncharacteristic style, panicked, with no clear cut answers for Mr. Sweet, and also had no definitive resolution to the ongoing major issue for emergency medical response vehicles, and personnel, other than "they were working on it.

That does however, add more time to emergency medical response. The details of what inspections failed were never answered, as was this Personnel qualifications, equipment, or vehicular, inspections that had failed, as it has been a few weeks that this had been going on with residents not knowing any of this. Also, most issues that have occurred in the past used to be resolved the same day, of within 24 hours. The Gloucester Township Mayor (Dave Mayer) had disrupted the privately run GT EMS a few years ago, when he and public officials, had accused the previous proprietor of the service of "illegal personal matters" only to have that not so true accusation, be "settled" for a large undisclosed amount of money. It was not long after that , that new folks headed up that EMT service, and this is where we stand now. The Mayor didn't alert his friends at Ch 6, the Inky, the Courier Post,or The GT Patch on this one.

Is the public safety in danger? Is this worse than originally thought? Unfortunately, that remains to be seen, and hopefully those answers can be gotten, or more importantly, this issue can be resolved, before something bad happens.

Forecast for Gloucester Township 2019. Election year free giveaways and more massive DEBT.

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

As we approach 2019, Gloucester Township, as in the past will do whatever it takes to retain political positions in office. It has already allowed the Norcross machine to make massive profits from the sale of land that the Premium Outlet Malls now stands, along with many "connected" contributors to continue to participate in "pay to play" business as usual at the expense of GT taxpayers. In the past, Gloucester Twp Mayor and Council have raised property taxes, as much as 52% since 2010, and accumulated over $120 Million in debt, that make up those property taxes. Public employees, school overspending, massive overtime, and free giveaways for those who's votes they buy, again, at the expense of all local taxpayers.

In the past, Mayor and council, pass massive bonds, (borrowing) in election years, in order to say that they did not raise taxes. That has been going on since Mayor Mayer has been elected to office. The council has been very accommodating to the Mayor, and bonds frivolous spending, and most times, borrowing millions more than they need, to pad the "budget".
In the years that storms have caused damage around town, (as they are known to do) council acts as if snow, or wind storms are unheard of. They have borrowed millions, stating that FEMA money would reimburse the taxpayers, only for that money to never see the light of day again, and dissipates into the rabbit hole of frivolous spending.

What groups will be targeted this coming year is unknown, but you can count on the Gloucester Township Mayor and council to borrow much more again, and add to the over $120 Million debt that taxpayers are already burdened with. It is fully expected if they are re-elected, those property tax increases will be unleashed to the taxpayers, and another mass exodus will ensue. You can also expect to see more vacant and abandoned homes throughout the town. History is always a good indicator of future actions when it comes to politicians, and if that is true it appears that in 2020, an 11% to 12% property tax increase is in the future for Gloucester Twp residents and taxpayers. Will it ever be able to be reversed? Not when you gave away the farm and obligate the taxpayers credit card, with no way of paying it back.

Gloucester Township off the table for LIDL market, Winslow Twp is not likely either

Gloucester Township, Camden County , NJ December 2, 2018

Gloucester Township Mayor and council hoped to entice residents with a "rateable" new merchant to the township in the wake of a huge property tax increase.
Township council, and planning board engaged in nothing more than wishful thinking and conversation, but appears to be the extent of the supermarket's possibility of coming to Gloucester Township.

The thought was that LIDL could consider Winslow Township as a possible location on Cross Keys Rd, adjacent to Gloucester, but that also has faded, even as LIDL plans to ramp up expansion, it appears to have no store locations in the foreseeable future in New Jersey, and some other mid Atlantic states.

LIDL indicated on Grocery Dive website in August of this year, that " Lidl initially planned to open 100 locations by June of this year, but has had to slow its growth plans due to under performing sales, reports note. The company has pulled out of store projects in several states, including Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama".
They further went on to say that "After opening nearly 50 stores in 2017, Lidl has slammed on the breaks this year, with just a few openings over the past eight months. It’s hard to tell when and if the company will ramp up expansion once again, but regardless, it’s clear Lidl is going through an adjustment period".

With Gloucester Township taxpayers in desperate need of TRUE RATEABLES to offset high property taxes, for now, not even Gloucester Township's infamous "tax abatement" will be attracting LIDL supermarket change. It's just not in the cards. Grocery Dive website link below.

Why does Gloucester Twp and others towns keep paying for the county, and city of Camden, while Millionaires get abatements?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

We are all part of a "county team" helping one and other out as brother and sister towns within Camden county, we pool our resources together to get things done.
BUT, when is enough, enough? Residents of Gloucester Township, and other surrounding towns in the county, continue to pay for for the city of Camden, when millionaires regenerate the waterfront and business area, are getting significant tax breaks and abatements.
For instance, Gloucester twp properly pays an outstanding police department to protect our town, and yet we provide funding for the city's police department that was labeled the "metro" division of the Camden county Police. We also provide firefighter and apparatus coverage for the county owned Lakeland complex, with little or no compensation for our tax dollars. The Camden county Board of elections, clerk, and other offices are now located in township, and do they pay their fair share of property taxes?

Taxpayers of Gloucester Township also contribute an additional open space tax to the county, while paying our own 2% every year.
When is it time to let both the county,the city of Camden, and the millionaire builders pay their fair share and cut the people of the towns a break.

Maybe it's time that we start talking about that, and why our elected officials don't ask those entities to pay their fair share.

Gloucester Twp. Smart move, overcautious, or Nanny state on late October curfews?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

Every year toward the end of October, Gloucester Township Mayor, Dave Mayer, issues curfews for the Halloween season.
When the Mayor first initiated this idea, he no doubt went overboard restricting youths under 18 from being out unsupervised after 7 pm on Halloween night along with mischief night.
In the past few years, Mayer has issued a 3 day curfew which is being reissued again in 2018 with those curfew restrictions being in place for 7 pm for Monday October 29th, Tuesday the 30th, and Halloween evening at 8 pm.

Some may say mischief night may be an understandable curfew, of perhaps 8 or 9 pm, but to others 7 pm could be a bit of an overreach as some students who participate in after school activities, and sports may get home after that time. Who even knows why Monday the 29th even has a curfew as it has no significance to mischief night. The question may be raised have we had any real issues on mischief night before these curfews were installed.

Are we being fair to the youth of Gloucester Township? It raises the question about a blanket curfew for all of our youth when it may have one been the few that has ever participated in any mischief on those nights in the past. Are we sending a message to the youth that all must be restricted for the actions of the very few. Sometimes our youth will surprise us when we show them our trust. After all, is mischief night even really still "a thing" ?

How do taxpayer dollars eventually fund political campaigns in Gloucester Township?

Gloucester Township, Camden County,NJ

Many Gloucester Township residents, and taxpayer have often heard the phrase, "pay to play" never giving it a second thought, but it's what eventually happens to your hard earned money that you pay in taxes? Let's just say that you are an Engineering firm, or Consultant firm operating in the twp. You often charge fees for services, sometimes for every hour and minute that you may spend, even just "reviewing" something, or making a phone call. Those fees could easily add up to tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.
Others may make it from commissions for large bonds, or approving contracts.
Those same consultants, and firms may turn around and make a sizable donation to the same political party's election campaign, and more so, to those politicians,
political PACs (Political Action Committees) throughout the year which add up to some very big donations come election season. So, if you are following along your local GT elected politicians spend generously to those firms, those firms in return make sizable donations to the Politicians, and their PACs.

What could be some reasons that local politicians would spend tens or hundreds of dollars, for non, and fair paying jobs? It's the things that you don't see, or care to pay attention to that is where the even bigger dollars exchange hands. Yet, some wonder why their taxes keep going up?

So, ask yourself this, why would the local political machine spend many tens of thousands of dollars to keep control of the local and regional school board?

You should be asking yourself that.

What IS SHOP GT. How it helps taxpayers, and why is it held up?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

SHOP GT is a program designed to help local business, and even more so, help local municipal taxpayers.

How does it help, and what is it all about? This is how it works.
The program is set up incorporating local in town businesses, to offer discounts to local residents, discounting anywhere from 2% to 25%. Local residents would have a card similar to an ATM card that he merchant swipes, and the amount saved is applied directly toward residents local PROPERTY TAXES. This process is done automatically by the program moderator, that applies that payment one time per year, so as to keep it very easy, and very inexpensive. The township tax office opens up that property tax credit, and you are credited with the amount that you have accumulated throughout the year simply by shopping locally.
As the program moves along, and the benefits are realized by both the merchant, and the local resident taxpayers, those same residents encourage more merchants to participate, and by it's shear success, builds the program. More merchants, more residents, and more benefits for all. There is NO COST to residents to sign up or to participate.

This program has been a success in Washington Twp, Voorhees, and other towns throughout New Jersey.
The program was introduced to Gloucester Township Council by a bipartisan team of Republican Chairman Ray Polidoro, along with former Democratic Mayoral candidate Sam Sweet.
Council seemed to like the idea, and program, so it was left up to council to work in the best interest of the residents, and see how they could make this happen. Council President Orlando Mercado instead assigned this to a sub committee, and that is where this program has stalled. Mr. Polidoro, and Mr. Sweet did have input as the very first sub committee meeting, but council has not called for a second meeting.

At a time when residents have been hammered for the 3rd property tax increase in 5 years, this would have been the only relief that the GT taxpayers could have benefited from, when Mayor's Administrator said in 2016 after that tax increase, when asked, "is this as good as it gets", his answer was in the affirmative. This program should be implimented as soon as possible, for local business, and especially for those hurt by those same 3 property tax increases.

Local and state Democrats taxing everything that is, and is not nailed down. Now tap water.

New Jersey, and Gloucester Township

With Gov. Murphy (D NJ), and Democrats in New Jersey assembly announcing their intentions of now taxing tap water, there seems to be no limits, as to what they won't tax, to pick our pockets for even more for tax dollars. Local District 4 Representatives, Fred Madden (D 4th), Paul Moriority (D 4th), and Gabriella Mosquera(D 4th), are most certainly going to vote "yes" along with their Democratic colleagues in Trenton.

With Jim Kenny, Mayor of Philadelphia paving the way with the sugary drink tax, aka soda tax, New Jersey Democrats went one better. At least you can avoid buying soda, and sugary drinks, or even go to the suburbs. In Jersey, you can only get water from one source, The pipes that come to your home. Many are expected to check out well drilling companies, to at least put a "clog" in the tax pipeline that NJ Democrats have now paved to keep the tax machines going.

Assemblywoman Gabriella Mosquera especially knows of free flowing tax pipelines. She is also the Administrative Assistant to Gloucester Township Mayor, Dave Mayer, who recently passed the 3rd property tax increase in the past 5 years, of nearly double digit increases each of those years, so she is no stranger to keeping the money flowing into the Politician's coffers.

Many are expected to flee Gloucester Twp as the taxes have gotten way more than residents can, or want to handle. This appears to even more difficult to the Seasoned Citizens of the township, especially those on a fixed income. Now it looks like many across the State may be taking the current south to the southern states one way. Keep in mind that even though New Jersey can't tax the water that you are crossing (Delaware river),they will get you for the famous "Exit Tax" that Gov. Corzine put in place some years ago.

New Jersey.....they get you even on your way out the door.