It's time for the NJ Legislature to close the loopholes that ALLOWS towns IGNORE the 2% state mandated tax CAP.

Southern New Jersey

Just because you can, does not mean you should. How many times have we all heard that? Well, it seems that just about every other year certain municipalities choose to go their own way, and perform the "New Jersey 2 step". In other words, ignore the State's property tax 2% CAP. These select towns will give them whatever loophole that Legislators provide, some abuse it more than others. Towns such as Princeton, and Gloucester Township, in Camden County. Both towns have chosen to find ways around that CAP, and there is no relief in sight. Princeton bumped up Property Taxes above 6%, with Gloucester Township raising their 2016 property Taxes a whopping 12%.

It is now time for our elected legislators, to close those loopholes, and go to work for the People of New Jersey. By using the word "extraordinary" for circumstance that need that extra measure, it's time to look at that very word, and not use it as a crutch. The other and most abused 'exemption" is debt service. Not only does it allow towns to use this highly abused service, but it adds an additional incentive, to borrow, and bond more, and continue to circumvent, and ignore the 2% CAP.

Close every loophole and analyze every town's request to be exempt from the CAP, or even better, put it to a referendum, and let the taxpaying residents decide, if THEIR town should be able to go above the CAP. After all, those are the people that are going to pay for it.

The actions the current Mayor and Council effects Millennials and the children of Gloucester Township's future.

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

When a local government spends well past it's means, it can only mean one thing DEBT. Borrowing, or "Bonding" for unnecessary expenditures,and frivolous items lead to a mounting debt for both future residents (taxpayers), and digs in to what today's residents can spend on their children, and young adults college, and expenses.

The Gloucester Township PROPERTY TAXES are made up of not only the 2 school districts high budgets, but the borrowing DEBT of those schools and the township government mounting debt. The combination of those DEBTS have accumulated to over $100 MILLION, and will have to paid in years to come.
Even though GT makes it's payments of those debts, they continue to rack up NEW debt each year moving the debt bar farther, and passing that debt on to new generations of young people here in the township, or those planning to buy a home here near their family.

When bonding for needed or necessary expenditures is done, it does appear that our government does not budget very well or run the municipality with great efficiency, but when you borrow in the MILLIONS each year for unneeded things, one has to wonder WHY? Well, some see it as a way to avoid back to back to back TAX INCREASES, others also see creating surplus. Government has to understand that is NOT their money to accumulate, its the taxpayers.

The young people of Gloucester Township, that hope to buy a home here, close to their family may have seen that possibility just vanish, due to the mounting DEBT and frivolous spending of their government. A great paying job will be bitten into greatly to stay here in Gloucester Township. Is it worth it?

Philly Inquirer accommodates Mayor Mayor's zip code "identity crisis" story, while residents yearn for substance on taxes (Editorial)

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

The Camden county democratic political machine continues to flex it's media muscles, and utilizes it's sources to run a lame story out of Gloucester Township about Mayor Mayer's unfortunate " identity crisis" due to 7 zip codes. A patronizing picture of the Mayor shuffling Gloucester Township identification road signs, heads the article. The article has an amazing resemblance to a re-election campaign ad.

Gloucester Township has had those zip codes for many many years, and it kind of allows the suffering town's Mayor, an opportunity to avoid the issue most effecting his dwindling residents needs and concerns. Taxes. The Mayor and his team boast that they are "transforming Gloucester Township", and judging by the growing number of vacant homes, they seem to be keeping that very promise. David R. Mayer was elected in 2009, and took office in January of 2010. That year the residents of Gloucester Township saw a 26% tax increase, one of the largest property tax increases in the town's history. It was followed by another 2 double digit increases in 2014 and again 2016 of nearly 10% and 12%.

Since 2010, Gloucester Township taxpayers saw their property taxes rise over 40%, which is easily viewed as the basis of the mass exodus, from the once great South Jersey town.
In a time when people in GT are hurting, and some losing their homes, feel good stories are not what folks want to see. They really want to see their taxes go down. Most know that, that will just not happen. The Mayor's township Administrator (accountant) stated that publicly on more than one occasion. Some on social media are finding the story painful, at a time when their neighborhood is emptying. One resident not so jokingly commented that maybe it was time to give Mayor Mayer a new zip code.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/for-south-jersey-township-7...

Gloucester Township Mayor and Council. Deception or Coincidence?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

Just before the last Gloucester Township Council meeting, the Local GT Patch, wrote a story notifying the residents that the involuntary Electricity Aggregation program was being discussed at that August 14th meeting. More residents than usual showed up for that meeting. Council President Orlando Mercado began the first "public portion" of thanking the resident for bringing up the aggregation program. Councilman Mercado went on to say that the program that was being discussed was for public buildings and entities within the "county".

Mercado also went on to criticize the Gloucester Township Patch for putting that out that brought the residents out to the meeting. He also commented that the residential program would be held sometime in the future.

Just one meeting later, the RESIDENTIAL Electricity aggregation program is slated and buried in the "consent" agenda, for both PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric customers in Gloucester Township. Many of the questions still remain unanswered about if you need to "OPT OUT" again. The other question is what GT residents ACTUALLY saved with the program, versus what the overall savings have been for the duration of the program.

The local Patch story may have only been off by one meeting, in it's story about the Residential Electricity Aggregation Program. It may have been helpful if a council member or council President Mercado would have indicated that this program, effecting most residents would be heard at this very next meeting. People need to know this things, so that they can speak to their elected officials BEFORE they vote on such items.

Mayor Mayer's friends put him on TV, but he talks about everything EXCEPT for PROPERTY TAXES and VACANT HOMES and DEBT.

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

Gloucester Township Mayor, David R. Mayer certainly has his friends in high places. Friends in Trenton, friends in the county, and most certainly at Comcast and the local TV stations.
He and his team have made it a point to reach out to them, to introduce the area to many of the "pomp and circumstance", and ribbon cuttings that he had lined up for this election year. Most of them have been "feel good" items that make this town look "visually" good. He has not, however been before the camera addressing the most important issue that effect the residents of Gloucester Township. What has he and his team done about PROPERTY TAXES and the consequences that has led to the growing number of VACANT HOMES in town, not to mention the enormous amount of DEBT, that will most certainly lead to more huge PROPERTY TAX INCREASES in the near future.

Mayer is without a doubt a very seasoned and polished Politician. He knows how to jump in front of the still, and television cameras. His position at Comcast may also help with that.
The residents and taxpayers of Gloucester Township have seen in the Mayor's 7 years of office taxes rise after almost every local election, upward now of 42%, and most years their team feels real good about their re-election prospects, but this year might just be different.

Maybe it's time to make your last TV appearance and be HONEST with the people of Gloucester Township. Even a dog can only stand so much pain before gets up off of the nail that's
been poking him in the belly, for so long. For the record, "GRANT MONEY" comes from another taxpayer source that comes from GT Resident's pockets.

How did ZERO turn out to be ANOTHER TAX INCREASE in Gloucester Township? Residents growing weary.

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

Gloucester Township Mayor, David Mayer along with Council, may have ANNOUNCED a ZERO increase in this year's tax levy, but what exactly does ZERO mean?
Council still needed to raise revenue for good ole open space which was used for many things then was originally intended as we knew "open space"
Along with GT's local increase, the local schools will always dip their ladles into the pot, along with the County.

For those not familiar with this constant barrage, the County Democratic Machine is like an Octopus with the usual 8 tentacles, with FRIENDS, and FAMILY having a tight network to
co ordinate this see sawing tax elevator that does not contain a DOWN BUTTON. They will continue to do what they do and always expect the usual voting base to put them back on office.
The voters always come through for them, as a great number of that base has or knows someone that works for the Municipal, County, or Vendor chain. They will always have that "Persuasive" way of counting on votes.

After the constant hammering to the residents of Gloucester Township, which have now seen their property taxes rise 42% over the past 7 years, this might finally be getting to everyone regardless of party. This could be a very interesting local election year.

Just a few reasons why it is so expensive to live in Gloucester Township

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

As if Camden County wasn't swinging a large enough wrecking ball of property taxes, Gloucester Township also burdens it's municipal taxpayers with items that are over the top, that cost the local tax payers, and see them moving towards the door, and leaving town.

The township spends, borrows, and taxes, to bring in some LUXURY ITEMS that may not necessarily, be needed at this time of economic hardship. Items that are proposed for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but turn out to cost in the millions. The township hockey rinks improvements and upgrades were introduced at about $800,000 and came in at just under $2 Million.
The township passed bonds (borrowed) under $3 million for turf fields, once again the real amounts with additional spending are nearing $4 Million.

The 5 DAY WORK WEEK has been a sore spot with some residents. The township employees work only a 4 DAY week (except Police), that allows some departments like public works to utilize FRIDAY as an OVERTIME day, along with SATURDAY. There are SOME staggered, work week employees, but that's questionable.

Probably the most troubling issue that flies under the radar, is along with GOLD STANDARD benefits, many municipal workers are reimbursed for what is suppose to be
"out of pocket " co-pays for medical and prescriptions, is reimbursed to them by the taxpayers. Upward from $500 to $750 per year.

We want our public employees to have good benefits but it contradicts the term and purpose "out of pocket". Just to name a few.

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Will the "machine" place primary challengers in an obscure location on the Camden County ballots?

Will what appears to be challenges in the Gloucester Township, and now Cherry Hill local races for Mayor and Council seats, the candidates are wondering where will the Camden County Clerks place them on the ballot.
It is a complicated process, with at least 7 Gubernatorial candidates at the top of the ballot, along with as many as 5 Freeholder candidates, but where will that leave local candidates on the ballot with the main County incumbents, occupying the 1st Democratic column?

Alex Law encountered this very same thing in the last primary race for the 1st Congressional district. and may have been somewhat far out of sight in the ballot, that questions still remain as to the ballot location process leaves more questions, then answers. It seem to make it difficult for new people to enter the process, and get notices on the ballot.

Double digit property tax increase again in 2018 very possible, after election year borrowing

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

On the heels of a 12%, 2016 property tax increase, Gloucester Township is poised to be back in a double digit tax increase again for 2018. The township has bonded more in the past few years in an effort to head off tax increases, but those bills also come due. The down side to all of the borrowing, is that "debt service" allows the township to raise property taxes above the state's 2% cap.

Gloucester Township has had some sizable tax increases in the past, including, 26% in 2010, 9% in 2014, and again an additional 12% in 2016. Those property tax increase have been called timely by pundits, as they have occurred months after the local elections, and the incumbents were re-elected.

In 2017, this is once again a local election year, with the Mayor, and council already have approved a $6.6 Million bond to borrow more money to again avoid another tax increase. It is expected that those officials will try to introduce another "zero" increase in the budget, which is now approximately 42% higher than when they came into office in 2010.

History indicates that the township will indeed increase the budget in 2018, and along with "banking" the 2016, 2% cap allowed, they will add that to the increase that could take the property tax increase well into the double digits for next year.(They have banked the cap frequently on the past) The township appears to be losing residents over these taxes, and more vacant homes are become very obviously visible.

The township budgets are available on the township website, but most residents do not find them user friendly, other say it's impossible to follow.