Trenton. The slogan used to say, “Trenton makes, the world takes”, has now become anything but accurate. If you live in New Jersey, you certainly know how that really works these days. Everything that you make, Trenton takes.
A state that refuses to manage a school system, and pushed it back unto the local municipalities. That is why your property taxes are so high in NJ. If you live in a town where your local government is honest, transparent, and looks out for it’s residents, it’s very hard to overcome Trenton’s overbearing mandates, gas taxes, tolls, and all around reputation of the highest taxed state in the nation.
If you live in a municipality that is not all that, like Gloucester Township, you know that it’s tax, borrow, tax some more, then wave a magic wand during a local election year. So, many ask, how this happens. The answer is simple. No matter how much the taxpaying residents of Gloucester Township speak up at these even numbered year council budget meetings, the result remains the same. They let you speak for 3-5 minutes, (not that they listen) run out the clock, then steamroll the newest property tax on it’s residents.
So, who do you turn to stop this, or at least look into this brutal habit? You would think that the state of NJ would do an audit, and uncover why this happens in the town of 65,000 residents, and not in very many towns. Some say that it is compared to having the wolf, guard the sheep.
This past budget, 2 very knowledgeable GT residents, with accounting backgrounds decided that they would put in the hard work, and time, and submit a “citizen’s budget” for the Mayor, and council to consider. As is usually the case in the current GT council, their arrogance stood in the way of their consideration to give the citizen’s budget a chance. So, again for the forth time in seven years, the residents are hit with another 10% property tax increase. If you are keeping score, that is just about 10% increases in 2014, 2016, 2018, and again in 2020.
It triggers that question, do residents of Gloucester Township trust those in Trenton to audit their township?