Author Archives: minorityrptr

Follow-up to Editorial on Selling Utility

Minority Reporter has responded to comments on facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/minorityrptr/

Here are those responses

The Minority Report of West Deptford Don Troxell According to the posted water report from the Township, 48% of WD drinking water comes from NJ American Water (ground water from wells in PRM aquifer and Delaware River treatment plant in Deltan ) and is blended with our well water

The Minority Report of West Deptford Don Troxell Ina perfect world, WD has sufficient wells to supply the township with water. During Whitman’s reign as Governor required the addition of another water supply, i.e. NJAM, to reduce impact on the PRM aquifer. Originally, WD supply from NJAM was approx 30-35%. In recent years, several of WD wells have been determined to be contaminated with PFNA and need a costly charcoal filtration system. Sewer pumps are failing. Each pump to be replaced cost over $1 million. Several major sewer lines have intrusion of river water into the system. The Jessup Rd. water tank has been estimated to cost $2 million to paint. All of this costs money to repair and/or replace. Two things are obstructing the Township to continue service of its utility:1) the large debt service of over $96 million and possible inability to borrow(bonding),and secondly current admin transferred surplus money out of the utility budget for the last 2 years to help with the overall Twp budget. In a perfect world……

EDITORIAL: Sell our Sewer/Water Utility

 

On April 19th, the Township Committee approved a resolution #2017-161 to acquire the professional “services of a Special Consulting Engineer to conduct a study of the Township’s Water and Sewer System for a possible sale of said systems”

http://www.westdeptford.com/respdf/R-2017-161.pdf

Our water/sewer infrastructure is crumbling and requires repair/replace in multiple areas, such as our water pump stations, and sewer lines and pump stations throughout the township. The Minority Report Editorial staff believes the sale of the utility would resolve many problems that may involve future bonding, i.e. more debt, by the township. The State LFB (Local Finance Board) may or may not approve any future borrowing of funds with the current debt load of over $96 million the township must handle. (Currently, the township yearly budget is saddled with almost one-third contributable to the payment of that debt: proposed 2017 budget- $33 million, debt service-$9.56 million).

The sale of the utility was a serious consideration by the previous administration as Haddonfield was processing the sale of their system in 2014 to either one of the two available companies that can handle municipal utilities. One is Aqua (https://www.aquaamerica.com/our-states/new-jersey.aspx) and the other is NJ American Water (https://amwater.com/njaw/). Earlier contact by the Minority Reporter with several members of the previous administration indicated that the Township was in preliminary review/contact with Haddonfield officials and Aqua and NJ American Water.

Local media provided some oversight of Haddonfield’s possible sell.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2014/11/02/haddonfield-voters-weigh-water-privatization/18216985/

Haddonfield finally sold its system to NJ American Water in 2014 for $28.5 million. http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/public%20works/Letter%20to%20Residents%20-%20August%202014.pdf

Haddonfield has one-third the size of residential properties that West Deptford has, which, in addition our Township has large business/industrial complexes. Therefore, the sale of West Deptford utility system very possibly may be valued over $75 million.

If the Township decides to sell, hopefully the Committee follows the lead of Haddonfield and other NJ towns that utilize some of the available funds to also pay down the overall debt, so as to provide property tax relief to the residents. See Haddonfield question “How will the $28.5 million proceeds to spent?” (http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/public%20works/Questions%20and%20Answers%20Brochure%20-%20August%202014.pdf)

For all residents, keep your eye on the ball to insure our community leaders make future decision-making transparent and available for public view and comment in this matter.

A Difference in Policy with Township Finances and How It Impacts Residents.

Currently, after review of the 2016 Annual Financial Statement, posted on Township website

http://www.westdeptford.com/…/2016%20Annual%20Financial%20S…

a surplus of $2, 773,929.69 was available at the end of 2016. A review of the introduced 2017 budget indicates that $734,176.37 will be utilized in this year’s budget, resulting in over $2 million remaining in reserve.

If only additional $811,543.81, which is the increase in revenue by taxation, was added to the usable surplus in this year’s budget, the probability of no tax increase is possible. However, the surplus remaining would be just over $1.2 million.

The difference in strict fiscal control of township appropriations, as demonstrated by previous administration, versus current administration view of available money, for uses other than essential services, is determined by the residents (election process)and how they view their property taxation.

Basic question for any resident:
Out of the $2.77 million surplus, would you rather see additional amount to be used in place of an increase in taxation, or would you rather accept the tax increase and accept the current administration explanation that surplus amount is available for whatever expenditure deemed “necessary” by the Committee?

YOU DECIDE!

Introduced West Deptford budget was advertised in SJ Times yesterday, April 20th

For transparency, and for those who no longer subscribe to SJ Times, it would be helpful for the Township clerk to post that info on the Township website.

Revenue by taxation is increasing ($811453.81), as Mayor indicated Wednesday night, 3.8 cents, (for avg. assessed house $74 increase) which equates to a 4.1% increase from last year local tax.

Once finalized through adoption in May, Mayor DiCarlo administration is averaging over 4.9% increase in the three years under her control. Compared that to the previous 3 years, where the average was 1.3% increase.

Township Adminstrator Escorted Out of Bldg.

She’s Gone….interim replacement by shared service with Logan Twp.’s administrator, Lyman Barnes, who also is a Gloucester County Freeholder.
http://www.co.gloucester.nj.us/off…/…/freeholders/barnes.asp

Wednesday agenda
http://www.westdeptford.com/AutoAgen…/April%2019,%202017.pdf

“6 e) Resolution of the Township of West Deptford Authorizing Execution of a
Shared Services Agreement Between the Township of West Deptford and the
Township of Logan Relative to the Services of an Administrator by and for the
Township of West Deptford”

 

WHY DOES THE MINORITY REPORTER EVEN CARE?

 

At the last Township Committee meeting, when the second reading of Ordinance 2017-06 was read, with public discourse available to the support or objection to the repeal of Chapter 58, Riverwinds Advisory Committee, no one appeared before the Township Committee and addressed the repeal.

Repeal was voted unanimously, 5-0.

http://www.westdeptford.com/ordpdf/O-2017-06.pdf

So, why should the Minority Report of West Deptford even care? Because the operating costs of the Community Center are an additional cost to any taxpayer, regardless if they are not members of the Center? Why care, because of community apathy?

Does anybody in WD really care about how our hard earned money is properly spent?

In a couple months, when the Township and the School Board submit their budgets, is it sufficient to say ” everybody’s taxes go up.” to answer any increase.

Do You care?
You Decide

Riverwinds Advisory Committee to be repealed by Current Administration: APRIL 5th, 2017

According to the minutes of the Township’s meeting on March 15th, Chapter 58 of the Township Code, is to be repealed on April 5th, when the second reading and final vote for this action is scheduled to take place.

Why should this concern the residents?

Riverwinds Advisory Committee was proposed in 2012 and approved in early 2013, so as “to improving the operations and financial status of the RiverWinds Community Center. ” (Chapter 58.1.A).
http://clerkshq.com/default.ashx?clientsite=WestDeptford-nj

The committee, appointed by the Mayor, consisted of a wide range of residents, from business acumen, marketing experience, to legal background that would perform the duties in order to provide an oversight and a transparency to the operation of the center in a cost effective manner.

Prior to the creation of the RAC, Riverwinds Community Center, besides the initial cost the every homeowner continually bears in taxation from the original bonding and debt, ran in the red, thereby costing residents an additional amount of money needed from tax revenue. By 2014, reportedly by the administration, RCC was operating in the black, or at least, argumentatively, better than it has ever been when operating costs were over quarter million dollars in the red.

So, why is Mayor DiCarlo and her team repealing it? Lack of recent meetings or lack of interest by committee members? Or is it that the current administration never did like it, especially the function of the RAC and the additional eyes, ears, and mouths that provide transparency to how our township appropriates and spends our money.

YOU DECIDE!
April 5th voice your concerns

LIVING HEALTHY IN GLOUCESTER COUNTY

For What It’s Worth….Interesting Look at Living Healthy in NJ.

How does Gloucester County Stand Up?

According to a report filed by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Gloucester County ranks 14th out of the 21 counties, with Hunterdon County is the healthiest at No. 1 and Cumberland County is ranked at 21st.

http://www.nj.com/…/where_do_the_healthiest_people_in_nj_li…

How are you feeling today?
Healthy as the 14th or better?

Do You Hear an Increase in School Taxation?

On Feb 23, on the Democrat side, Senate President Sweeney conducted a short forum on the school funding issue and how it applies to West Deptford. Of course, WD is being shortchanged by $2.7 million, receiving only 84% out of the school formula. Less than 50 people, including those at dais, were in attendance. Reason why? Meeting was scheduled to convene at 430p. Where are the vast majority of WD residents at that time? Working?

You should care. First the education of our children is important. Secondly, your property tax is comprised of 47% going to school budget’

And, on the Republican side, Governor Christie’s budget reveals no increase in school funding. WD is listed at #115 receiving $12.1, which is a 0.00%. Oh, by the way, WD teachers are in negotiations for increase in benes, compensation.

http://patch.com/new-jersey/westdeptford/s/g1snb/n-j-school-districts-getting-most-least-money-in-christie-budget?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=schools&utm_campaign=alert

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