Sounds familiar, right; maybe just a little off?
Seriously, I’ve lived in Gloucester Township for almost twenty years this time around (not my first time here) and I have no real complaints about where I live…I have half an acre lot at the end of a quiet street with the benefit of a swath of woods buffering me from the Black Horse Pike. But the taxes are killing me and make it impossible for me to stay here after retirement. Is that what people like to hear about their lifetime homes where they’ve raised their families, that they can’t afford to stay there after retirement?
Work? Hmmmm, I’m not sure of that part of the phrase. If GT was ever a good place to work it’s becoming much less so. I realize that it’s bad all over but we seem to be stricken quite hard here in GT with businesses that have been around for years closing up and disappearing. I wonder what we’re doing to actually attract new business to GT? I can honestly say I do not have an answer to that but would love to understand it.
We come now to the meat of my comments…Gloucester Township, a (not so) wonderful place to pay, and pay, and pay, and PAY!
We have been reminded a number of times now that the Mayor has submitted a budget that does not raise our taxes…again! I would point out to all of you reading this that real estate taxes are not the only way for the township to raise and collect revenue.
Added Tax #1 – Red Light Camera Tickets: I grew up with an understanding that one of the rights I had as an American was the right to face my accuser. It’s called the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and it reads this way:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
I specifically point you to the phrase that informs us that as American citizens we are guaranteed the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against” us.
How many red-light-camera tickets have you received: none, one, two, three, more? If you have received one or more, is it possible you paid a ticket for an offense when you were not driving and not even in the car or at the scene of the so-called offense? Where then are the witnesses against you?
Please, tell me again, Mr. Mayor, about not raising my taxes.
Added Tax #2 – Animal Licensure: It was explained to me long ago that when the state requires a citizen to seek licensure for an action or thing that the state has effectively declared that action or thing illegal but has made a caveat to allow people to break that law…for a fee. The caveat of which I speak is licensure and it’s all done to raise revenue…in other words, it’s just another tax. So, why am I paying Gloucester Township $21 dollars each for two pets? My pets do not leave my property and they do not traverse public lands where they could leave any mess for others to clean. My pets have their immunizations maintained by me at significant cost by a local vet. So why is it illegal for me to own a dog to the tune of $21 each? Cats are taxed in this manner, as well.
From a colleague at work, substantiated by my check via the Internet, I understand that Audubon charges $8 for a dog license and $4 for a late fee. Gloucester Township charges $21 for a dog license and $15 for a late fee.
I’ve already asked here, somewhat tongue in cheek, if the next step after an animal license late fee is the tax sale. Don’t laugh; citizens who were late paying MUA bills, to the tune of as little as $50, had their bills sold at tax sale accruing additional penalties along with 18% interest.
Tell me again, Mr. Mayor, about how low my taxes are being kept.
Added Tax #3 – Poor Schools: Yes, it’s been argued over and over again here that the schools of Gloucester Township are just wonderful. Please allow me to say that I am not familiar with the elementary schools in GT, but in the end, all that matters is what we are pushing out the doors of our high schools. Just the other day a Patch reader published information available about the standing of our two GT high schools comparing 2010 and 2012 to the rest of the state’s schools.
Out of 328 public high schools in New Jersey, Highland High School fell from a poor ranking of 252 to a terrible ranking of 284; Timber Creek High School, likewise, fell from a ranking of 219 to 246.
I read years ago that Camden County College had raised concerns that it was spending too many of its resources that were meant for college education on attempting to bring high school graduates up to college level proficiency. The cry must have fallen on deaf ears because the cry died down and it appears that it is now common practice today for 75% of high school graduates entering community college to have to take remedial English and/or math.
Are you aware that in the Black Horse Pike Regional School District we are allotting over $16,000 per student for education? What could you do to educate you high school child with $16,000? What further amazes me is that it’s being recommended here that if you want your child to get on the fast track that it would be a good idea to enroll them in the Science camp being offered that runs through eight weeks of the summer. If you choose the full course it comes in at over $3,000.
One more time, Mr. Mayor, could you remind us all of how great a job is being done in GT to keep our taxes down?
Yes, Gloucester Township…a not-so wonderful place to live, work, and PAY! Can we do any better? I think so. Maybe you should think about showing up at a council meeting or two and letting your elected representatives know of your concerns…unless, of course, you have none because you think everything is just wonderful!