Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 30 2008

It was interesting day even though I missed our County Government in action. I woke up to several newly empty storefronts on High Street near my house. A neat record store that had live concerts and a skateboard shop that my spouse found to have very hip clothing for those over 30!!
I drove to work and worked till 9:45pm I ended my night at the Oar House with good friends

The State of County Govenment

I was out training for a part time job and I had to miss the events of our County Government. Tonite when a local citizen had the nerve to speak up about an issue, she was asked in a condescending way by the most powerful man in our poor county; "How long have you lived in Cumberland County?"
Of course our local media will not report how even SLIGHT dissent is just ignored and dismissed like flies on a dog. Can they check things out and act like a free press in a free country?? I mean most folks do not want to bother to look into this in a recession. Does it take a man with a cheap digital camera and his friends to do the work of the press. I was struck how the media tells us that the "Main Voice of Dissent" is a Democrat on a 7-0 Democratic controlled freeholder board. She is no longer on the board as of Freeholder meeting held Tues Dec 30 2008.
While I and others have concerned ourselves with a man with taxpayer subsidized horse farm, the BIG guy on the Freeholder Board has taken control of all in Cumberland County New Jersey!! He has done it the old fashioned Illinois way with power and intimidation. I will leave it to the more informed to give details. I do know in 2009 that the county government merits watching. As I read earlier this month, our county taxes have gone up...up and up and what do we get from it?? A new courthouse????

Monday, December 29, 2008

Smart Car

On Saturday we test drove a Smart Car. Boy was that cool. This model was over 17K but I check out the Smart Car website and they are cheaper. One in Cherry Hill is 15K

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cumberland County's Tax Rate Keeps Rising!

I was going to chill out on politics but I read a letter to the editor in the Daily Journal and I had to join in. Here are some facts on the ever-increasing tax rate that the County keeps inposing on taxpayers of our county
The county tax rate has steadily increased from 2001 to the present:
  • Starting in 2001, the rate was $1.041 per $100 of assessed property value. In 2002, it increased 3.3 cents to $1.074.
  • In 2003, the rate increased 5.8 cents to $1.132.
  • In 2004, the rate increased 8.4 cents to $1.216.
  • In 2005, the rate increased 21.7 cents to $1.433.
  • In 2006, the rate increased 13.3 cents to $1.566. In 2007, the rate increased 12.3 cents to $1.689.
  • And in 2008, the rate increased 17.2 cents to $1.861.

    To put these numbers into a meaningful perspective, I used a property with a net taxable valuation of $100,000. In 2002, the Cumberland County tax payable on this assumed property would be $1,074. Fast forward to 2008. The county tax rate of $1.861 would result in a bill of $1,861 for the property owner. In seven years, the resulting increase of $787 yielded a whopping 73 percent increase.

  • We need to work together in this county to attend meetings hold our County leaders accountable especially the most powerful man in the County!

    Friday, December 26, 2008

    The Last Word on Abatements

    I forgot to mention in my last post a couple facts. The city now can require a recertification on a yearly basis to make sure that the business with the abatement is maintaining employment, paying taxes etc. If they are not then the city can cancel the abatement. I believe that the city has demonstrated that abatements have minimal impact on local taxes. Millville has the second lowest tax rate in the county. Since 2006 Millville’s municipal rate has increased 11 cents – the county 38 cents and the BOE 2 cents. Bridgeton’s municipal rate is $1.25 higher than Millville’s and Vineland’s is $1 higher (both cities have abatement programs).
    The city has shown it can manage its resources

    This was Christmas 2008

    It was a mellow Christmas. First off the 3 dogs had a nice walk and then we had brunch at the Millvlle Queen. At the Rite Aid we saw a former neighbor and caught up with life. Denise and Jon came over and we ate at the Peking Toyko. Talked to my sister for 2 hours and it was interesting and fun.

    Wednesday, December 24, 2008

    Tax Abatements

    Well my last serious post before X-Mas....
    The issue of Tax Abatements has come up over and over again at City Commisson meetings. Its true in the ideal world there would be no need for them and everyone would pay their fair share all the time. In this awful economic climate, its important to remain competitive. In our case the City of Vineland has used Tax Abatements to bring in the Cumberland Mall and its been stated by Vineland officals that they will continue to use tax abatements as a tool for economic development. I think it would be foolhardy to drop our Tax Abatement while Vineland keeps using them. Guess where some businesses would move?? I decided to find out some information on the hard numbers:

    The term is PILOT. or Payment in Lieu of Taxes Over the 5 year PILOT for the 10 business the City will collect $14,967.81 more than if the business were paying full taxes. Plus the owner of the land will be paying full taxes on the land
    Furthermore I found that over the 5 years the city collects $14,967 more than if it were on the tax rolls. The city also collected $47,288 in added assessments for 2008 before the PILOT starts in 2009. Also a Farmland Assessment (Abatement) saved a city resident $229,025.78 in taxes in 2008. This person paid $7,574.60 on 458.24 acres in 2008. If the land was fully assessed this resident would pay $236,600.38.

    This person has opposed any tax abatements for businesses in Millville!!

    In today's News of Cumberland County, a business owner
    " Lester Didomenico, whose Finish Line Auto Repair shop submitted one of the 10 applications approved on first reading Tuesday, said the practice is necessary.

    "I am here, in this city, because of a tax abatement," he said. "It allows me to stay in Millville; it means I get to stay in business."

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    A Blazing Travesty

    Yesterday morning for the 2nd day THIS WEEK, I wake up and read that a home in Bridgeton has gone up in FLAMES! On Thursday December 18th 7 people were displaced when "Investigators stated they believe the fire was caused by clothing that was left near a baseboard heater in the second floor bedroom"
    So it was a shock when yesterday Dec 20th, the front page of The News of Cumberland County has this "Blaze displaces 31 people".
    It was a stroke of LUCK that no one was KILLED in this inferno. Heavy fire shot from the second floor of the house. The facts of this blaze should cause concern by Bridgeton City officials and County officials (ya THINK). Get this, the house is divided into seven apartments and is owned (like most in this town) is owned by Bob Thompson. According to Bridgeton Fire Chief Dave Schoch, Thompson only had 10 residents on record there. "By law there's only supposed to be 18 people living in that building." The fire chief CONFIRMED that there were 31 people living there!
    Now, since a landlord broke the law and almost got people killed due to BREAKING that law shouldn't there be a punishment? Well, I can bet my box of Chero's that this landlord who owns half of Bridgeton will not suffer any consequnses except the lost rent to those THIRRY-ONE PEOPLE! Well, maybe only the rent of 10 or 18 but heck who is counting. I am sure Mr. Thompson lost count too. As person on a local Forum said: "This was on the main North-South Street. The City will NEVER return to it's days of glory until it rids itself of these flop houses."

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    Solar Valley for Millville? Why NOT!

    The other night, we saw a report on ABC News that a certain glass-making capitol of the United States is now turning to Solar Power. Companies such Solar Fields and Xunlight Corp have created 10,000 new jobs in this once decaying glasstown. This is Toledo Ohio which has seen its glass industry fade along with the fortunes of the big three automakers.

    I do not see why Millville/Bridgeton can not conduct the same outreach in a technology with a future. Lets open our vision and think out of the T-Fal box and consider this for our industrial park. A certain official said that she was open to new business suggestions. Well, here is a one to look at . We could be New Jersey’s solar valley,"

    Mark Krull
    Center City

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    Levoy Theatre Receives Community Support

    Last night the City Commission the City Commission stated its intent to approve the $2.95 million UEZ grant at next month's meeting. The move is meant to help the Levoy board secure money from its other sources. THe evoy Theatre Preservation Society board members presented piles of petitions with signatures of support. Also many stood up and gave their support

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Book Stores Closer to Extinction in Cumberland County New Jersey!!!!

    I read this from the AC Press on Monday December 15th 2008
    Cumberland County New Jersey will have ONLY one bookstore
    and thankfullyI live right near it.

    Sherlock Tomes in Bridgeton will officially go out of business.

    That will leave Cumberland County, which has long carried the stigma of its impoverished areas and low education rates, with a single bookstore, Bogart's Books and Cafe in Millville.

    According to recent census findings, about 15 percent of Vineland residents hold a bachelor's degree or better. In Millville that number dips by a few percentage points and in Bridgeton the number is well below 10 percent.

    Even with recent development in the county, including two large big box retail outlets across the street from each other in the north end of Millville, neither Borders or Barnes and Nobles, the nation's largest book retailers, have been mentioned in conversation when it comes to retail development in this county.