Archive for the ‘Taxes and Budgets’ Category
Today, Tony F. Mack announced that he wanted to give the Glen Cairn Arms building to Thomas Edison State College (TESC). They want to put a $16.7M nursing school of some sort on the property. Right off the bat, unsophisticated Trentonians started messaging that this was progress.
It’s not progress; it’s more of the same.
Every single politician and activist in Trenton for the last 12 years has complained that the State of New Jersey doesn’t pay its fair share in Trenton. And this deal is simply more untaxed State land. Do we need another tax exempt property?
Let’s do the math
TESC wants to give Trenton a one-time payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) of $300,000. One time! That’s essentially free.
That $300,000 is to cover taxes for all time on a $16.7M building? Spread over 10 years that’s a 0.2% tax rate. Spread over 20 years that’s 0.1%. Trenton’s tax rate for the rest of us is 5.5%. Put another way, the State would be paying 1/50 of what you and I and every other private property owner pays in taxes. That’s essentially nothing. Many private homeowners in Trenton pay more in taxes than this deal will yield. It comes nowhere near the cost of paying for the police, fire and public works costs to support the building. The new building’s direct support costs for just those services would be around $700K per year.
Trenton’s City Council should NOT approve this.
Instead, City Council should do what Fix Trenton’s Budget recommended two years ago and approve a standard PILOT for all new development in Trenton. That standard PILOT should be based on taxing land at 30% of assessed value and improvements at 1.5% of assessed value. This PILOT should be available to all developers. A standard PILOT like this would be welcome by developers and go a long way to encouraging new taxable investment in Trenton. It would also serve as a reasonable basis for PILOTs for non-profits and eventually for a Land Value Tax for the rest of us. This is important in our effort to have our tax system work for us rather than against us.
“Isn’t something better than nothing?”
It’s true that Glen Cairn Arms has sat vacant for many years. But, as the math above shows, we lose money on this deal. So no, “Something is NOT better than nothing”
Why hasn’t the building sold?
The City of Trenton owns the building and has been unsuccessful in selling it for many reasons:
1) The City has maintained a poor development environment for many years due to crime, ineptitude in city government and lack of a plan to improve.
2) The city always tried to sell it rather than give it away. It’s obvious the building is a mess and therefore has no value and maybe negative value.
3) We don’t have a standard PILOT that makes sense for a developer. I’ve proposed one above.
4) We may have to demolish it ourselves (i.e. because as the building stands it has negative value)
There are several options
- We sell it to TESC using a standard PILOT. The current assessed value of the land is $500K. With a $16.7M improvement and using the suggested standard PILOT rate, we receive $400k/ year in revenue. This is what we should get. It still doesn’t cover all of our direct costs, but it’s closer.
- We sell it to a private developer with a new package. We would spend the ~$1.4M * it would take to demolish the building in anticipation of a private developer putting a $5M building on the land. With the standard PILOT in place that would yield $225K a year in tax revenue. This is a 16% return on investment and a pay-back of 6 years.
- However, we should NEVER approve another tax exempt property deal. Increasing ratables in Trenton should be our #1 priority. This deal with the State of NJ is the opposite of that.
But there’s more
Do we as citizens really want to let Tony Mack negotiate development deals for us? Time and again, we’ve seen in New Jersey that government money is rife with corruption. Tony Mack has provided us a case in point. We have no reason to trust him and every reason not to.
Our Indicted Occupant of the Mayor’s office will do anything to make himself look good to unsophisticated voters. In this case, it appears that he’s working to curry favor with TESC and let that organization’s patina rub off on him. The leadership at TESC should know better. Furthermore TESC and Mack are using State money as part of this scheme.
But I’m really confused about the choice of Glen Cairn Arms?
Trenton has a large unused medical facility with multiple buildings that could certainly be converted into a nursing center. Why not encourage TESC to purchase all or part of the Capital Health Mercer campus. Isn’t this exactly the use we’ve all talked about for that site?
This deal has been presented to citizens without any economic impact assessment. Certainly our City Council has come too far with this corrupt and incompetent Mayor to allow him to get by with this. But more importantly, if you support this deal, then you have no business complaining about the State not paying its fair share in Trenton. This is just making it worse.
* I originally estimated $300K based on numbers from a previous bid, but understand that TESC thinks the cost is $1.4M so I’ll use their number to be conservative.
Our country’s economy and especially its real estate market has been in a slump for 4 years. However, in the next 2 years we’re going to come out of it, no matter who wins the Presidential election.
When that happens, we don’t want Trenton to be left behind.
A normal economy will grow around 2-3% a year. For Trenton with its $1.9B tax base and ~ $70M in property tax revenue that means our revenues could increase $1.4M – $2.1M a year. That’s if we were normal.
The problem is that our Mayor has become a national and regional publicity problem due to his various missteps and most notably his arrest by the FBI on corruption charges. It should be obvious to us that no matter how good the national economy, a developer, potential homeowner or business owner would not want to invest in a city under such leadership.
Tony Mack is a drag on Trenton’s economic recovery.
In addition to the bad reputation he’s given the city, it’s also become apparent that Mack’s administration has no intention of addressing our economic growth. In Mack’s 2 ½ years in office he has not made one proposal to increase our tax base. In his 10/16/2012 budget address to City Council he did not mention ratables or growth in property taxes other than to pitch his proposed $.19 tax hike, which would have a negative impact on economic growth.
Mack is not thinking about revitalization. He’s never mentioned it. There’s never been a plan presented. This city’s budget discussions have never contemplated expenditures related to increasing our tax base and thereby our property taxes, our single largest source of revenue.
If by inaction and negative publicity, he “drags” our economic growth by even one quarter of one percent or $150K per year in growth, we would be better off paying the man to step down. We’d be better off paying Tony Mack his $126,000 a year salary, NOT to show up for work.
For a man facing a difficult legal battle and under severe personal financial distress, this seems a win-win for both Tony Mack and the City of Trenton.
It’s been almost two years since I wrote my first article about the Trenton Marriott shortly after I joined the Lafayette Yard Development Corporation board (LYDC). which oversees the hotel on behalf of the city. At the time in 2010, I was encouraged that a new Board would take aggressive action to get us out from under the hotel’s debt burden and operational risk. A new year and a new attitude at our hotel
After I joined the board and began to understand things better I started saying to anyone who cared to listen, and certainly the LYDC board that: Our hotel isn’t worth very much to us and we need to sell it now.
The LYDC board has a few sophisticated people on it and many others who simply have no business being on the board of a multimillion dollar operation. This is one of the many follies in having a city owned business; it has to be run by citizens who simply aren’t equipped to make important business decisions.
Two years after I wrote the above, hopeful, article:
- We still own the hotel,
- It’s still struggling,
- We’ve bailed it out to the tune of $500K,
- And we’ve paid $2.8M in debt payments from our city budget,
- And I’ve resigned from the board.
The fundamental problem is that the hotel is worth more to a third party than it is to Trenton and it’s not worth very much to us at all. For instance a third party would be allowed to lease out the restaurant space (we’re not). A third party could profit share with its manager. We can’t do that. A third party could make big decisions quickly. As a public corporation the hotel has to go before a citizen board and sometimes City Council. The operations of the hotel are severely limited in flexibility and business model structure.
As an asset, the hotel should be valued to the owner (the taxpayers of Trenton) at the present values of its future cash flows. In a good year we can expect around $100K in cash from operations before our debt cost of $1.4M a year. The value of those cash flows comes out to about $700K. This means that we should be happy to sell the hotel for that amount of money.
Of course there may be a buyer who would pay us more than that but every day we turn down offers for anything more than our own value is a day that we’re losing money (because we pay the debt).
For instance, if, when we had an offer for $22M and had wound up selling for $10M, we would be able reduce our $15M debt by 2/3. That would save almost $1M a year in debt payment from the city. The board President didn’t even manage to bring that offer to the LYDC board. He failed to do so at the advice of our bond financiers who felt considering a sale would have gotten in the way of their bond sale, and thus their fat commissions. The bond guys were effectively running the board and had a significant conflict of interest. I quit the board soon afterwards.
The City of Trenton (taxpayers) pay $1.4M a year on that $15M in debt. Every year we don’t sell the hotel means another year we’re paying that full amount.
I hope to God the LYDC board has at least put the hotel up for sale, but as of the time I left the board, they couldn’t even get themselves organized to do that.
The City of Trenton needs to get itself out of the hotel business now, not next year or the year after. There is no reason to expect the LYDC to manage the operation to greater profitability, experience shows it won’t. We need to put this bad experiment in mayoral arrogance and public gullibility behind us.
Instead, we continue business as usual. The Marriott will take away its brand in the middle of 2013 because they are disgusted with us. Waterford, the organization who has managed not to run the hotel at a profit and who caused the city to have to bail out the hotel, may get replaced. It will likely be replaced with another outfit recommended by Acquest but without a serious national search for a new manager or owner
Erin Duffy at the times wrote a good summary this week in the Times: Trenton Marriott next to Statehouse could change branding to Holiday Inn.
I’m currently working with a client to help them rethink their business with an eye towards improving their Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a fairly well known mechanism for measuring the health of a customer relationship. It’s based on asking one question: “Would you recommend the company / product to a friend or colleague?” Answers are given on a 0 to 10 scale and the NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (scores from 0-6) from the percentage of promoters (scores from 9-10). Depending on the industry, a decent score is 40.
Typically, companies ask detractors to explain their problem and then ask whether someone can follow-up in person. The best companies have managers follow up and take care of the customer immediately but more importantly help find ways for the problem to not happen again.
It turns out that employees in companies with high NPS scores like Apple, Jet Blue, Progressive Insurance and Enterprise Rent-a-Car are also happy with their jobs. Employees like being able to consistently satisfy customers.
The book that best explains NPS is The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey (Markey is a classmate of mine). The web site is netpromoter.com.
What if Trenton had such a program?
“On a scale of 0-10, would you recommend Trenton as a place to live to your friends and family?” This could be “The Ultimate Question – Trenton Edition.”
What if we religiously asked residents this question? What if we followed up? We could set up an email survey to ask the question or even better use our robocall system to do the asking.
In part one of my Trenton Plan, I recommended measuring four numbers: Ratables, Population, Crime Index and Graduation rate. Those are good things but to be really great we need to ask the ultimate question, “Would you recommend that a friend or relative live here?”
My free consulting advice for our next Mayor is to do exactly this. When you hire your aides, hire them into a small group that does nothing but call back residents about their problems, look for ways to solve them immediately and then craft ideas of how to solve the problems permanently. Additionally, your senior staff and you yourself should make some portion of these calls as part of your daily routine.
Citizen feedback and administration responses could be put onto the web site as a way to maintain transparency and re-enforce the point that we’re trying hard to deal with problems.
The next administration should use Net Promoter Score as a way of evaluating all departments and personnel. Create a bonus pool with city council’s blessing to reward employees based on NPS for the city. As you get more sophisticated, tie all work orders and emergency responses to how they served individual residents and business owners. Be able to link the work of the city back to individual NPS results in order to eventually give each employee an NPS score.
We might not even need to link bonus to NPS. The best companies don’t. A source of pride for Trenton employees (and I’d like to see this extended to schools) would be to achieve high levels of citizen satisfaction. Can you imagine how good it would feel to know that because of your efforts, citizens were giving the city scores of 9 or 10?
In short order we could turn into a city that strives to have citizen’s recommend it. This kind of attention to customer satisfaction could certainly be the silver bullet that revitalizes Trenton. Soon, everything our administration does could be oriented towards citizen priorities. Our budgets and policies would finely be in tune with the public.
This doesn’t solve our budget problem immediately and we won’t magically fix our crime issue. But by aggressively listening to citizens and solving their most important problems we slowly begin to repair our broken image.
Our city council recently agreed to give the money-losing Trenton Marriott another $500,000 to satisfy the demands of the very management company that made it money-losing in the first place.
This begs the question of whether this is the best way we could invest that kind of money.
We could pay for 5 police officers, but that would be for just one year and then we’d have to lay them off in 2013. A better idea is to make investments in our tax base and quality of life that will be permanent and predictable.
With $500,000 we could stimulate investment in 50 new homes for 50 new families in Trenton.
Our fundamental problem (and all but the lunatic fringe agree) is that we don’t have enough people with disposable income living in Trenton. For now and to make the math easy, I’ll define that as people who can afford a home that costs $200,000 or more.
A home like that yields approximately $4,400 city revenue given our current tax rate and the 60% discount on home value our tax office builds in to the appraisal.
What if we give $10,000 grants towards anyone who will buy a new $200,000 home in Trenton. Given our tax rate this would yield a 79% rate of return over 10 years and would be paid back in just over two years.
For $500K we could make 50 grants to 50 new Trentonians that will help the rest of us pay for our city government going forward. Those 50 homes would generate $220,000 a year in revenue to the city or $1,720,000 over 10 years.
This plan recognizes an inescapable fact that much of our property in Trenton now has negative value. That’s right, we’d have to pay someone to take it off our hands. Free isn’t good enough. This happens all the time around toxic waste dumps. High murder rates aren’t much different.
The good news is that by simply building on a lot and living there, the land value is increased. We create value by stimulating development of new neighborhoods populated with people who won’t stand for crime. The criminal element hates houses with people and lights.
By far my biggest complaint is our city’s lack of a strategic plan. All of the mayoral and council candidates stressed the need for it in the election, all of them.
So here we are one and a half years later and we have nothing, no plan at all. Not even a bad one.
The Mayor says the “state of city” pamphlet is his plan. It’s a document full of past statistics that are mostly irrelevant. Nothing about it discusses our measurable goals and how we’ll use our limited resources to achieve them. There are no strategic themes around which departments can build their operational plans. There is no new thinking. There’s nothing.
When I complain to the Mayor, he says, “I have a plan, just not one you like Dan”. “Really”, I say, “Could you email me a copy?” I’m still waiting.
The other day it hit me between the eyes how bad not having a plan can be.
Great cities are made by bringing creative people together. This isn’t a new thought and it’s been crystallized for me recently as I read the Richard Florida author of The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City. I’ve been thinking about what we could do in Trenton to jumpstart own value generating creative juices.
My idea was to help organize an entrepreneur’s conference in Trenton. It’s something I’d be interested in and perhaps we could pitch Trenton as a good business location.
I went to city council meeting on Dec. 13 and my hopes were dashed.
A local business owner and several other speakers were at council to complain about a rise in the business registration fee from $10 to $300. You can pay even more if you’re a more successful business. Basically our city council and administration are planning to institute a business tax. Nearby Hamilton doesn’t have a registration fee and yet Trenton is going to add a new one. We’re adding a business tax in addition to having the highest property tax in the State.
Is this part of the plan? Is making Trenton the most expensive place in the region to do business part of the grand plan?
And now for the dysfunctional part.
At this same city council meeting, our council members were confused about how and why the business tax was so high even though they approved it. Apparently the ordinance creating the tax was put together by the city clerk with consultation from the Trenton Downtown Authority. However, the Chair of the Downtown Authority, John Clarke, spoke at council to oppose the business tax.
It seems as though the tax is some kind of miscommunication. Wow!
Slapping business owners in the face isn’t all our city council has been busy doing. It seems they have been going through the city budget line by line. They’re doing this not because they want to but because they have to.
According to council members and members of the public who’ve been there, the city’s business administrator isn’t aware of the particulars of our budget. It seems as though department heads haven’t been very involved either. In other words, they took last year’s budget, which was based on the budget from the year before that and have just copied the numbers. There’s no new thought in the budget. Imagine that our city’s only important strategic document has no strategy and no new thinking. In fact, council members are finding personnel and expenses simply shifted around.
Trenton’s dysfunctional government is managing our affairs by wandering around aimlessly, with no serious forethought and without a strategic plan. Please someone email me the strategic revitalization plan that includes rehashing old department budgets and increasing the business registration fee by 2900%.
As Trenton’s low point approaches, let’s not forget that it was 20 years of previous administration that led us here. The current group has just put the final nails in the coffin.
We’re laying off 105 police officers because our municipal budget is over $200M and Trentonians already pay the highest tax rate in NJ just to contribute $70M of that amount. Contrary to popular belief, the State of NJ would pay almost that same total, plus almost ALL of our $300M school budget.
Trenton’s taxpayers are nowhere close to being able to pay for their own government. The state currently owns roughly 25% of property value in Trenton and pays over 40% of the cost of municipal and school budgets.
We could keep the police officers but our property taxes would have to go up an additional 12% or so, thereby bankrupting many of us.
How did we get here?
Its been ignorance and pride that have brought us to this point. At some point Trentonians will have to do the hard work of taking responsibility for their city. The State can be a partner but Trentonians must cooperate in good faith. We must show a plan for recovery. We need to lead.
* BTW – According to COAH’s Guide to Affordable Housing Trenton has 7799 affordable housing units (even before including Trenton Housing Authority or section 8). Readers should be aware that there are only 22,000 or so households in Trenton. This means that over 1 out of every 3 homes in Trenton is affordable housing.
This report was produced by The Fix Trenton’s Budget Committee and is reposted here
As part of a broad Priority-Based Budgeting exercise initiated jointly between the Fix Trenton’s Budget Committee, Beautiful Trenton and Trenton Council of Civic Associations with support from The City of Trenton, an in depth survey on budget priorities has been conducted amongst city residents.
Over the last four months 202 Trentonians have completed a comprehensive budget survey either participating in person at Ward budget forums or online through a specially designed survey tool. The survey was unique in that it used actual budget numbers and asked respondents to make forced choices between taxes and spending increases or decreases in levels of service. For instance, if citizens wanted to increase the number of police on the street they had to either increase their own property tax or reduce service in other areas such as recreation or public works. It mirrored the tough choices elected officials have to make when balancing the budget.
“This is the first time such a large and in-depth survey of Trentonians has been conducted about the budget and how their tax dollars are spent”, said Carlos Avila of Fix Trenton’s Budget. He added,
“Other cities such as Philadelphia and San Jose, CA have successfully used citizen input like this to help make hard choices in spending.”
By holding forums in familiar neighborhood locations, each sponsored by a City Councilperson, the organizers were able to reach a large cross section of Trentonians. In addition, the web based survey allowed a broader response. Our sample size of 202 was enough to provide 95% confidence that our results were representative of the 37,479 registered voters in Trenton with a 7% margin of error for each answer. Nevertheless, we hope to every year improve the methodology of this exercise and attract more participation from residents.
We’ve tallied the results and found that Trentonians favor lower spending. Of the $92,000,000 in departmental spending included in the survey, respondents voted to trim the amount by $7,000,000 to $85,000,000, a reduction of 7%. The total city budget for 2011 is $205,490,000 which also includes debt payments and benefits. The survey showed that Trentonians expected this savings to result in an 8.5% decrease in property taxes or roughly $400 per $100,000 in assessed value.
The following chart shows the weighted results of departmental budgets if left to all 202 respondents.
In particular Trentonians favored less spending in the following areas.
The following chart shows the percentage of respondents who voted to increase, maintain or decrease spending by department.
Perhaps as a hint of dissatisfaction with the current political climate, 64% of the survey takers favored reducing the administrative budget which includes the Mayor’s salary, his aides and City Council. However this cut amounts to only $1,000,000. Respondents also voted overwhelmingly to withhold pay raises for city employees.
Survey takers put Fire and Police spending under pressure as well. A surprising 38% of respondents favored decreasing Fire spending and only 7% voted for an increase. Trenton Police did a little better with 35% supporting reduced police protection and 15% hoping for increases. This is significant as Fire and Police make up one quarter of Trenton’s total city budget. While roughly half of the survey participants voted to keep spending the same, the downward pressure on spending is at odds with the administration’s past priority of maintaining current levels. The study shows that the recent realization that budget levels may have to be reduced will not meet as much resistance as expected. According to comments in the survey, the “4 on, 4 off” police scheduling policy was unpopular among respondents.
Public Works showed weak support as 42% of survey participants wanted to decrease spending while only 13% favored an increase. Health and Human services also had weak numbers with 49% of respondents calling for a decrease. Several respondents commented that the County should take over Health and Human Services.
Several departments attracted pleas for increased investment.
Inspections and Economic Development received support for increased budget by 32% of respondents. This is attributed to the belief that spending in this area will lead to increased levels of investment in the city and better quality of life. Many respondents wrote in comments such as “limit affordable housing to 20% of total”, “Kill off the Miller Homes project”, “We need more market rate housing” and “Focus redevelopment in a few areas”.
A substantial 31% of survey participants favored reopening all of the Library branches. However, 51% were OK with just the main branch being open and just over 17% favored closing down the entire library system. Similarly, 39% of respondents favored increases in Recreation spending and 11% favored eliminating the department.
In addition to concerns about departmental functions, respondents left a large number of other comments about the budget.
Survey participants seemed anxious for a new relationship with the State “The state should pay its fair share” was a popular sentiment. Others felt that Trenton should “discontinue police protection in the State House district”.
Respondents were not short on additional ideas for raising revenues. Parking taxes and improved violation enforcements topped this list. Privatizing trash collection and charging more for pick-up was a popular idea. Trentonians especially wanted to tax non-residents by way of “commuter taxes” and increased fees on non-resident landlords. Enforcing laws was also seen as sources of income through fines for loitering, increase court fines and using drug seizure money for community benefit. Other ideas included running a Police Academy for profit, an entertainment tax, a wage tax on non-profits and selling the Marriott.
The results of this survey are illuminating. They show a willingness to sacrifice but more importantly show that Trenton residents have specific priorities in how they would like their government to invest its scarce resources. Both the Mayor and City Council have supported this effort so Fix Trenton’s Budget and Trenton citizens look forward to the incorporation of these results in the 2012 budget.
Written for the May 2011 issue of the Trenton Downtowner
In a democracy citizens get to rule themselves. We elect representatives who are responsible for doing our bidding. The theory of this republican form of government is great; however there’s often a disconnect.
We forget that democracy was invented thousands of years ago when governments were smaller and simpler. That changed as Trenton and the rest of America became part of a national and global economy.
We didn’t keep up and now one of the great challenges of our age is reinventing post-industrial cities like Trenton.
Why should we expect our leaders to know what’s needed to turn Trenton around? They haven’t done it in the last 20 years. Instead we have declined in population and lost ground in income. Perhaps the collective wisdom of voters could provide better insights.
You might say, “They don’t listen”. Well perhaps we haven’t delivered a clear message.
Unfortunately most citizen input is undisciplined. Everyone wants everything: libraries; more state aid; more development and less crime. Governments and our economy don’t work like that. There are no magic wands.
We have to use our budget as a strategic instrument of revitalization policy. It’s not enough just to reduce the budget. It needs to be used wisely to further our goals of investment, safety and standards of living.
We need to balance investment in livability (safety, trash pick-up and social services) with investment in the future (lower taxes, improved technical inspections and marketing.)
We can’t just wait for a revitalization savior to show up in Trenton. Instead, we can leverage the wisdom of the masses to help make the tough choices that political leaders can’t make themselves. Priority Based Budgeting provides an opportunity to do exactly that in Trenton.
A group of fiscally minded Trentonians organized the Fix Trenton’s Budget Committee to work on efforts important to revitalization. One of those efforts is a budget process that includes citizen input as its driving force. Led by Carlos Avila and Bob Lowe we got the Mayor’s and City Council’s support to do this starting in the fiscal 2012 budget (beginning July 1, 2011.)
With Beautiful Trenton and the Trenton Council of Civic Associations and council members: we held community input meetings. To make sure we collect as much input as possible, we’ve put the survey online and will keep it open through May.
The output of the surveys will form the basis of a position paper for city council that will communicate its budget guidelines.
The Priority Based Budgeting process allows citizens to present their own budgets. People’s priorities are different. Some want lower taxes (we have the highest tax rate in NJ). Some want more services. Others want more investment. We all want these things but we have to balance the budget and now voters can make the same tough choices as our leaders.
We’ve prepared a survey that presents the budget in a simplified form. We ask you to vote on discretionary items. These include our tax rate and the department spending which directly impact the levels of service that can be provided. We held the items that are beyond our control like state funding, debt service, employee benefits, grants etc constant.
Choices include two or three reasonable levels of spending and several different tax levels. Dollars are converted into points that make the math easier. But the spending has to equal the income.
The budget survey can be found at FixTrentonsBudget.org. This is our first year using this process and we look forward to continuous improvement.
In addition to the budget survey, there’s also a questionnaire asking for your opinion on new revenue enhancing ideas. For your convenience there is also a Spanish version.
It’s our budget and we all have to be responsible for it. If we don’t do it, who will?
No matter what you hear from boosters selling you rose colored glasses or what you hear from detractors who think everyone who visits the Capitol City gets shot, Trenton’s economic situation is bad. Our per capita income is about half the average for New Jersey as is our assessed property value. We can’t afford our own municipal government, much less our schools.
We’re overburdened given our size and even with state and federal aid, our tax rate is high. The plain truth is that our tax rate for 2011 will be the highest in NJ. In this regard, our property tax is definitely, “foe”. Read the rest of this entry »