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.

VACANT HOMES IN Gloucester Twp. Who cares, and who doesn't

Gloucester Township, Camden County (Opinion) July 2, 2018

When you look around Gloucester Township, you see some very high end things. You see fine, expensive artificial turf fields, brand spanking new township vehicles, and taxpayer funded high end, high paying jobs. The township has done it's share of spending, on "Premium" things, for a "Premium price, as was indicated by the current council President.
When you drive into the various neighborhoods of GT, you see much more, but it doesn't appear to be high end or premium for that matter.

You see a growing number of vacant homes. You see those that have been vacant for 8-9 years, and some more new ones popping up within the past few years. There could be a number of reasons for these recent homes becoming vacant, but the majority of them seem to be caused by the ever escalating property taxes that the township has seen in the past 5 years. The property taxes have been raised 3 times, just in the past 5 years, near double digit amounts in that time, and it shows no sign of stopping.

Who is effected by these vacant homes? Who seems to care, and who doesn't appear to care? When you come right down to it, the families that were forced out of these homes by these tax increases care, and care very much, but it goes much deeper than that. The good friendly neighbors that never had a clue that their good friends next door were struggling until the moving trucks pulled up. We all know someone that never showed those signs, and were all of a sudden gone. The relatives of those vacating their homes, and the local supermarkets, and convenience store owners care, and will miss that family.

When the township Politicians are asked by a packed room of tax paying residents, do they seem to care? Most that attend those meetings say that those same elected officials never considered cutting back spending on non essential things, or luxury items, in order to keep taxes at a livable level. Some have actually pleaded with officials not to do this to them,but again, it steamrolled into a 7-0 yes vote, and on to the Mayor to sign. Do those local Politicians care? We can only say that you have to be the judge of that.

The July quarterly property tax bills will be out this month, and it looks like we will see more of our friends and neighbors leaving. Sadly enough we hope that they have a chance to say good bye to those we call our friends.

When GT Officials are in a pickle, they always come up with a "dill". Here we go again?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

In the past, when Gloucester Township elected officials upset the public, or in an election season they are at risk, they go to the same arsenal of "make believe".
GT residents have heard from promises past, the arrival of positive, revenue producing entities coming to the town. When the current administration was first elected into office, residents were told of a magnificent tournament baseball complex that would fill the forever empty Nike base. Today, that empty Nike field still sits empty. There was the promise of a new Data storage Center coming to the Lower Landing road area. Just like a Disney movie, that also dissipated like pixie dust, not to mention that "Cloud" and other technologies already made that center project obsolete.

The Mayor and Council went back again to the Nike Base area for another revenue producing "rumor", that being of the supermarket chain Lidl, coming the Nike area, right behind the existing ACME market. Besides the Vineland/Millville area, Lidl has expressed no interest or intentions of bringing their chain store to the Gloucester Township area. Thus, again, that area remains untouched.
The current "rumor" now floating about comes from the 42freeway.com sight, indicating that a Dave & Busters may be coming to the Gloucester Premium Outlet area, which by all accounts is nearing the twilight of it's "Tax Abatement" period. Could it be a tax revenue producing venture? Could it actually be something that gives the township a needed shot in the arm? Could it in fact, even be coming to the town? If history is any indicator, of promises fulfilled, here in Gloucester Township, then we may just come up empty once again.

If you were a business, looking for a place to locate, that also benefits your business, and you had another choice, what would you do?
Looks like Mays Landing may very well be the Landing spot for that Dave and Busters.

42freeway.com on Dave & Busters http://www.42freeway.com/dave-and-busters-coming-to-gloucester-township-...

Did Gloucester Twp elected officials represent taxpayers fairly when voting budget that included an additional 8% tax increase?

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ Tuesday April 24, 2018

With the council room full of residents, Gloucester Township council had the task of voting on an additional 8% property tax increase for it's residents, and taxpayers.
Following the previous meeting, where residents packed the room, and lined up out to the parking lot, local GT council members were casting the final vote on the 2018 budget which included that 7.8 cent increase.

In 2014, twp Mayor and officials passed a 9% increase following the 2013 council elections. Little of no fan fair came with that bump in municipal taxes. In 2015 there was again, an election for (4) council seats. So, in 2016, council again introduced and passed a whopping 12% increase, along with regional, local schools, and the county increases, the taxpayers were unprepared for what was to come. That all came as a surprise in July when residents received their quarterly tax bill, then packed the council room, only to find out that it was too late to address the April increase.

This year, residents through word of mouth and social media, the taxpayers of Gloucester Twp were ready. This 8%, now makes it huge property tax increase in just the last 5 years.
That does not include the current administrations 2010, 26% increase, that set the new plateau, for the total 52% increases that residents have endured under this same administration.

So on Monday night, the people spoke. Many heart wrenching stories of seniors, falling behind, with being on a fixed income. Other seasoned residents possibly losing the homes that they had paid off, many years ago.

Council members listened, but also attempted to justify this additional increase. At times council members becoming combative with residents that challenged them on irresponsible spending. After, offering a "token" micro sliver off of the increase, the all Democratic council voted overwhelmingly, and unanimously in favor of that budget and 8% property tax increase. Gloucester Township municipal council is most often known for 7-0 votes on all matters, so it came as no surprise to the taxpayers of the twp, when the vote was complete.

Historic indicators, make predictions for the next cycle fairly easy. GT residents can expect another "political" zero increase in 2019's election year, and almost certainly about an 11.4% increase for 2020. The question truly is, who will be left in township to pay those rates? That is harder to answer than the tax increases for those years. Good luck GT.

In Gloucester Township there is either no reporting on the tax increase, or the Administration's slant on the story.

Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ

Even when the GT News, reports on the lack of reporting on the additional huge property tax increase that Mayor Dave Mayer, and council are implementing, to the Gloucester Township residents, a story finally emerges. The only problem is that it looks like so many others that have emerged from the GT Patch and Courier Post.

The residents, and taxpayers of Gloucester Township are very smart people. They grow to learn more and more about their town with each passing year. Is a matter of fact, their knowledge jumps even more every other year when twp Mayor and council raise their property taxes. In 2014, it was 9%. In 2016 an even bigger 12%. In between both of those years was a local election. One for council, and one for Mayor and council. Residents once again face in another off year election tax increase. This time an additional 8%.

If you were looking for this story to be covered by the Courier Post, or the Inquirer, we already know that is not likely, as the twp Mayor has many friends in media places.
Many residents have seen stories like this appear on the GT Patch, that appears to be nothing short of a jargon filled press release by the Mayer administration, but maybe the Patch is avoiding that for now.

The new kid on the block in township is in the southern end of town, known as the Sicklerville Sun. The Sun has done a decent job of covering the $5 million Mullen roof story, but maybe that got them put in "time out" by the township powers that be. The most recent coverage of GT's newest 8% property tax increase, looks very similar to what the residents have come to expect from the Patch, or CP.

The Sicklerville Sun's rendition of what the people of Gloucester Township already know, and what appeared on the Sun's pages are two very different stories. The Sun's story includes language that has often been heard by the town's Administrator Tom Cardis. Filled with appropriations, levy, and within the 2% CAP jargon, is not an honest, nor balanced review of what is occurring to the residents. When you describe the 8% increase as "This year’s tentative tax rate is 1.091, which is a .079 increase from last year", instead of the simple percentage that taxpayers will deal with, that is nothing short of intent to confuse. Again, they must think that GT residents are less that intelligent.

The Sun also goes on to quote "According to business administrator Tom Cardis, the increase is still $2,386,089 below the 2 percent tax levy cap and $1,292,000 below the appropriation cap". No matter how you slice it. When intelligent people see another 8% increase, Gloucester Township Math doesn't add up. It never has. We would have thought more of the Sicklerville Sun, then to allow the administration to sway the story, but again, GT residents know better.

It's simple math, spin and jargon doesn't work anymore. We hope that in time, the Sun sees the benefit of presenting simple numbers, and simple facts. When you rely on Politicians as a source, you get spin and jargon.

We will keep you posted on just where the council meeting on April 23rd will be located as more information comes in.

Did local 6ABC put Politicians ahead of hurt and concerned residents? if so,Shame on local 6abc

Gloucester Township, Camden County

When Gloucester Township residents protested a 12% property tax increase in 2016, only one media source, was there to cover the group's battle as they filled rooms in both council meetings, and meeting halls. Kevin Riordan from the Philadelphia Inquirer was the only columnist that covered the hundreds of residents meetings and battles.

A mere 2 years later, and Gloucester Township has introduced another significant tax increase to it's residents, and the battle is on again. This time it seems that the amount of residents has grown, and the coverage has been absent.

On Monday night, April 9th, Gloucester Township council room was not only standing room only, but the residents lined down the township municipal building hallway, and out the doors.
At one point those not able to get into the packed room began chanting "let us in", that not only fell on def council ears, but would have made a room capacity an issue. As residents and taxpayers stepped up to the public microphone to voice their concerns, or opine to council, those in that line out the door attempted to watch the meeting on the township's on line live feed.

All the while just outside of those doors, was a local favorite TV station camera from WPVI channel 6, the local abc affiliate in Philadelphia. Some residents claimed that residents notified channel 6 to alert them of the council meeting and the tax revolt led by residents would be news worthy, and requested to cover the story.

The channel 6 camera was there, the 6 abc microphone was there, and maybe even that famous news van, but they all remained outside, never to step foot inside of the meeting where residents and council were " the big story" at least in South Jersey, they were. When asked why the station's camera was not inside of the council room to cover the actual story, the response by the representative/ cameraman, was that it was a problem or issue with GT officials. He did not go on to say specifics, but the lack of coverage of the actual meeting should speak for itself. They have always come to the council chambers when Mayor Mayer is handing out awards and attempting humor, but it appears that the Mayor's trumps the tax soaked public of the large municipality. Historically TV6 and Action news has been a favorite of many in South Jersey, but times must have changed, and not for the good.

So with that being said, local 6abc, you chose Politicians over people in the township of Gloucester. Remember that when you cover the Mayor giving awards. Wear the "cone of shame".

Bring your passion, but also bring your patience to the Gloucester Twp council meeting. Know what to expect at a public meeting.

Gloucester Township, Camden County

With knowledge, comes power. Know that when you attend a municipal council meeting there is a protocol. Especially in Gloucester Township.
The Council President conducts the meeting. He sits dead center of the council pulpit, right next to the twp Lawyer. The council president will invite the public to speak on
"AGENDA" items only in the first public portion. That means that you are addressing ONLY items that appear on that night's agenda. The council President will only allow each member of the public 3 minutes to speak with a maximum of 15 mins for that 1st portion. Note, always address all comments and questions to the council President ONLY.

The council will then go over that night's agenda and cast votes for those Ordinances and resolutions.

The council President will then announce a 2nd public portion for the public to speak on ANYTHING. That is when the public and taxpayers may speak on anything that concerns them within their township. Each member of the public may only speak for 5 minutes, with a maximum time for that portion of 30 mins. The council President can if he wishes to extend that time or someone may ask him to wave that time limit.

When GT residents plan to attend the council meeting on April 9th, you may want to bring your patience with you. The meeting start time is always 7:30 pm sharp. On the night of the 9th, the council will allow the GT scholarship committee to select the winners of the township's students that will receive those scholarship gifts for college. This takes about 30-45 mins.

Council members are now scheduled to go into "closed" session, which means that they will leave council chambers and go into a private room to discuss items that are not for public knowledge at this time, like a legal, or employment matter. This could take 10-30 mins. No way to know for sure.

The council meeting will then finally be called back to order whereas, all of the above information on the meeting protocol applies.
Remember, your elected officials work for you. If they say something that you do not agree with, or do not understand, just say EXPLAIN. That is their job.
Please be mindful, that when coming to a council meeting, a metal detector is used in the hallway before entering the council room. Plan accordingly.

There are no dumb questions. Learn, and enjoy by attending YOUR meeting of your elected officials.