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Tax Increase But No Furloughs Under Proposed Municipal Budget

Municipal tax rate to increase $6.32 per month

Township employees applauded after the governing body announced Thursday that a furlough plan has been eliminated under the proposed municipal budget but Lacey residents are not out of the dark, as taxes will be raised.

Under the 2 percent state-mandated tax cap, the municipal tax rate will be increased $0.024. For the average assessed house at $318,000, taxes will rise $76.72 for the year and $6.32 per month under the proposed spending plan.

“I know some folks don’t want to see any increase at all but $6.30 increase per month based on the services you get in Lacey Township, at the municipal rate, is a heck of a bargain,” Mayor Gary Quinn said.

“I don’t like to pay one penny more tax than I’m paying right now. As a matter of fact, I’m paying too much,” resident Mike Micheli said. “On the other hand, having seen what the township has been through and seeing the budget cutting and everything, I think (the township committee) has done a wonderful job and I am pleased to hear what I am hearing. I congratulate (the committee) for their efforts so far.”

Regina Discenza, a resident of Lacey Township for more than 11 years, said her taxes have nearly doubled on her house.

“I have to tell you that if the taxes go up one penny, for me it’s one penny too much. Services haven’t doubled but the taxes have doubled,” she said.

Unions 'stepped up to the plate'

Under the proposed budget, the committee was able to eliminate the furlough plan, which originally consisted of 22 days for township employees.

“This year, we’re very happy to say that the budget we present has zero furlough days,” Quinn said.

Quinn credited the budget surplus, not backfilling 23 vacant positions, and changes that the township has made, including implementing user fees, in helping to avoid furloughs.

Quinn thanked the union members in attendance for their sacrifices. “What they’ve done is really stepped up to the plate to help the taxpayers,” he said.

“I truly think it was the right move not to furlough people, not to lay off people. I commend you for being able to come up with a solution for that,” resident Jim Letellier said.

In April, township employees joined at Bicentennial Park to

“Obviously we’re thrilled that there’s going to be no furlough plan this year, no layoffs this year. That’s the ultimate goal. We’re thinking it’s time to work together to have a budget, to move forward and not cut,” said Ellen Vidal, a Lacey resident and executive president of Communications Workers of America Local 1088.

Adoption in July

Quinn also noted that $3.8 million would be going toward the budget- $2.3 million from surplus and $1.5 million deferred from school taxes. The township anticipates 98 percent tax collection.

The township also came in within $2 million of the state’s expenditure cap and the amount raised by taxation is increasing by 12.96 percent. The overall budget is $191,258 less than last year, Quinn said.

The budget accomplishes the committee’s four priorities: avoid furloughs; reduce dollars spent on the police department, increase police resources on the street, and no layoffs in the police department, he said.

Committeeman David Most, liaison to emergency services, has worked with the police department to achieve $200,000 in cost savings and still get three to four more officers on the streets, Quinn said.

Though the township is still facing a 2.9 million shortfall, the committee agreed to support the purchase of a and add two road projects to the capital requests.

The ambulance will cost $135,000, with the township paying $100,000, while the EMS will take care of the difference. The committee agreed the decision was a matter of public safety.

The township received toward the Lake Barnegat Drive and Laurel Boulevard projects. The township originally estimated that they would be responsible for $370,000.

Bids have come in but the several members of the committee previously showed opposition to the road project. If they decide to move forward, the township committee will have to pass an ordinance at a later date.

The final budget will be introduced at the next caucus meeting on Thursday, June 9. Until then, the committee will have the opportunity to make changes as they see fit.

The budget will be adopted in July.

Bob Smith June 03, 2011 at 04:58 PM
It might be great for the town employees but its terrible for the taxpayer!! There are so many people struggling in this town with all the foreclosures and elderly who are just making it from paycheck to paycheck, Any increase is just another sturggle for all of us who are having a tough time. Who is going to take care of us when we cant pay our taxes which keep going up and up. The whole point of Governor Christies tightning the belt strategy is to force towns in this state to merge as many services as possible because all of the replication of services from one town to another is absolutely rediculous. To watch out government body put there heads in the sand year after year instead of making the tough choices is a dis-service to all of us. They must remember that they are accountable to US the taxpayers and not the other way around. This is just a terrible budget for the taxpayer. The only ones who are getting shafted are us!!
Forked Tongue June 03, 2011 at 06:25 PM
This doesn't make sense. How can we have a final budget when there is still a 2.9 million shortfall. The surplus after last years budget was less than 200k. So where did "2.3 million from surplus" come from?
Bob Smith June 03, 2011 at 06:30 PM
thats correct it does not make sense at all! They are technically borrowing deferred money that they owe the school $1.5 million dollars of it. This is not what a fiscally responsible government does. Besides the only sacrafice that is being made is by the taxpayers who are not getting anything more for what they pay for. Its a shame and the public most speak up about it.
TP June 03, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Again, the taxpayer is screwed. The taxpayer that hasn't had a raise in how many years?? The taxpayer that has had their healthcare premiums skyrocket. The taxpayer that has had copays and prescription payments skyrocket. Little by little increase the taxes. Public employees have no idea that private industry employees are suffering, suffering more than they suffered under the furlough plan last year. Private industry has been suffering for YEARS now. Yes, their furlough was a hardship but the private sector hardship continues and is getting worse. The less private sector people that are working & earning the less taxes are being taken in to pay for the public workers. This is a recipe for disaster. So municipal employees be warned the bubble will burst eventally thanks to unions bosses & politicians negotiating unsustainble contracts for municipal and school district employees. Taxpayers be warned think twice about voting for Most's challenger (Vacarro). Obviously he is pro-union since he supported the recent roadside greed rally. You can bet he will negotiate in their favor and not in the taxpayer's best interest. Dems on the commitee & what are the solutions????? Obviously they didn't have any since we now have tax increase coming.
Bob Smith June 03, 2011 at 08:42 PM
I would not Blame Helen & Sean because they were locked out of the final budget that was submitted and were stunned like many of us when they said they would not have to layoff or furlough any employees. We have alot of dishonesty going on down at Town Hall and its very unforuntate to say the least. We really Need a Third party candidate who is beholden to No one except the taxpayers. I am sick and tried of all of the BS it really is quite trying at times.
TP June 03, 2011 at 09:21 PM
What do you mean locked out? Did they participate at all in this budget process? Also, I'd like to know when contract negotiations are going to take place for the PD. All these increases for school and municipal budget go to supporting the salary and benefit increases. It's totally out of hand. I say go bankrupt. Time to move out of Lacey and out of New Jersey. But, where do we go?? The worst of them all is hell bent on taking down the country and is doing a fine job of that. The neglect by politicians and union bosses is too far gone. We can't foot the bill any longer.
Bob Smith June 03, 2011 at 09:34 PM
what I mean by locked out is that they had no say in the budget making.. It was obvious who did the budget and it was not Helen and Sean. The Republicans are in control and doing what they want.... Usually its the dems protecting the unions but not here in Lacey.... After all they have to take care of their friends and family and to hell with the taxpayers.
John Overtaxed Q. Public June 03, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Can any one tell me what the vote was 5-0; 4-1; or 3-2 or what & who voted how??? I am now old enough to vote & there is an election coming soon- I'll remember, that is if I can still afford to live here. The grass is always GREENER in Lacey- especially in all the parks. I will vote to stop the madness- will anyone else join me?
Larry June 03, 2011 at 10:38 PM
TP... excellent points....... wake up people.....
TP June 04, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Be careful what you wish for. Research the poorest, most bankrupt states etc. almost all are run by the dems (governor, legislature etc.) Elect a pro union committeman and you get? Look at NJ who's been in control of the legislature?? Who was in control of the House & Senate the last 2 years of the Bush Admins. The ones in control of the D party are not the JFK dems - they are the redistribution of wealth party now. I for one am sick & tired of working to pay the non-producers. Check out the percentage of Americans now on food stamps, thanks to the anti-captalist dope in D.C. and his destroy America policies. It's all trickling down to the states & towns - jobs are drying up.
tr June 04, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Things will change only by being unafraid to take tremendous political risk, thinking COMPLETELY outside of the box, disregarding all allegiance to relatives, friends, and current, in power, political associates. These are not solutions, but these currently unaceptable attiudes will have to be embraced to make any significant change from the status quo. Until all these prerequisites are accepted, I will not waste my breath to be laughed at by offering currently unacceptable solutions. I have presented solutions in the past, they were ignored. Go ahead, just raise the damn taxes, like they wanted to do anyway. It was the EASY way, politics as usual in Lacey!!!!! If my property value is less, shouldn't my taxes be less if the services remained the same???
Bob Smith June 04, 2011 at 03:32 PM
I believe several people have come out to expose the current policies of the governing body but the governing body is not interested in what anyone has to say. Many examples were given to cut back and make the town more lean but the Mayor is totally against any of this. I have seen several people get up there and speak their minds but several on the governing body are just giving lip service.. For the mayor to say so many time at this last meeting that this a good budget for the taxpayer is a travesty to say the least.
Silver dollar June 04, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Why do (WE) the people come down on our local goverment when we only pay 18 cents on every hundred dollars . And 92 cents pre hundred on the school system only a few people go to the school board meetings that is where our taxes are going . Wait till the future when they run out of solor money , the schools raised the budget almost as much as the township was in the red. But this is ok?? go to the next board meeting on june 20 and see where some or your taxes go . Notice how they vote Items Ato L All in one vote if you dont have a agenda you dont even know what was voted on Why is the sup"t retireing 3 months after the new budget which includes his payraise He still has a contract that runs till july of 2012
Watchdog101 June 04, 2011 at 04:14 PM
Fact: Taxes and going up. The current Majority has just introduced a budget that is little more than an accounting gimmick. Deferring school taxes? So much for long term planning... Not to mention, the Unions have receieved virtually everything they asked for, no furloughs, no layoffs and even raises in some contracts. Committeeman Most and company have sold out to Unions. No suprise being that Committeeman Most is a long time I.B.E.W. UNION member.
Nicholas T June 04, 2011 at 05:09 PM
I am tired of all this bashing on Helen and Sean. I watch the meetings on TV and see what is going on. People must realize that politics have become more of a priority than the interests of taxpayers. Helen and Sean have been purposly left out of the budget process. Mayor Quinn and the rest of the current Majority have been trying to shift the focus onto Helen and Sean. They feel that it is there duty to clean up the mess that the Incumbents have created. This town is mortgaging its future with this new budget plan by borrowing taxes that would otherwise be collected by the schools. We cannot borrow our way out of this financial mess.... I have watched Gary Vaccaro speak at the township committee meetings and he is an extremly intelligant and resonable person. If anyone paid attention at the rally he said that he feels public workers SHOULD pay more for benefits. My concern is that Committeman Most is actually a union member. I don't see him negotiating union contracts that reflect the voice of Lacey Township citizens.
Bob Smith June 04, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Yes it is a gimmick for sure and the public needs to blast them for it. We need to tell them that they need to make the tough decisions not play some game of russian roulette with our money. After all it is OUR money and we need to tell them that in no uncertain terms. WE need a independent candidate who is not beholden to anyone and I say anyone except the tazpayers!! I dont want a pro union committeeman or woman I want a PRO Taxpayer committee person who understand the plights of the many who are struggling and says enough is enough already. I dont see anyone on the current body really standing up for US!! Its a disgrace. I have watched the mayor be rude to the speaking public. It is not for him to be interrogating members of the public who come to speak at the meeting but the other way around!!
Watchdog101 June 04, 2011 at 05:34 PM
A Lacey Taxpayer is happy that their taxes are going up.... The money is going to the unions and public workers. Not one layoff or significant cut has been made. Instead, we will just use an accounting gimmick to fix the town budgetary mess that has been brewing for the past few years. Committeman Most is an IBEW union member. Do you think he has the interests of taxpayers in mind when he negotiates Union contracts? I'm not trying to target him. In my opinion he is a really nice man. But that does not qualify him for the job...
Watchdog101 June 04, 2011 at 05:44 PM
*Bob, Thank you for getting it... I feel that I am the only one fired up this. We definatly need a new voice up there. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. At this level, party politics don't mean a thing.I'm a registered republican but I vote based on who the best candidate is, not party. Whats up with this guy Vaccaro who I hear is running. He's been on the televised meetings a few times. He always presents possible solutions to our towns problems and then gets fired at by Quinn and the attoney up there. I'd like to know a little more about this guy.
TP June 04, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Bob you should run. Vaccarro is pro-union (he'll pretend to be for the taxpayer until elected). Now that I hear Most is another long time Union member, forget about him. Find an articulate "regular" person to run and get backing by a local TEA (Taxed Enough Already) group and get on the ballot if it's not too late. Or run as a write in. The TEA groups are not affiliated with either party they are just citizens who've had enough of being taxed to death to grow the government. I hear there's a group called Ocean County Citizens for Freedom located out of Toms River. Yes, an independent non-union taxpayer is needed. The majority of our property taxes go to paying for the salary & benefits of municipal and school district employees. The increases in the budgets all went to cover those costs - not to give the kids a better education. We've been robbed blind over the years because we just trusted these people were doing the right thing - who knew we were paying 100% of the $24,000 healthplan for a school district employee. That is just unbelievable! Think how much we could save if the increased the copays, dropped covering the spouse & family or at least contributed 30% or a percentage of their salary to the cost!!! We get what we deserve when we don't vote or get involved.
geo h June 05, 2011 at 06:57 PM
we need a tea party candidate. you have people working at town hall that don't do a thing. go there and see them working?? just bs ing. how many people did it take to replace john adams and at what cost. this town is run like a joke.
Capt. Kirk July 25, 2011 at 03:34 AM
tp why dont you run for office .? you have so many ideas

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