I just got off the phone with our tax adjuster where we settled the three Money Island property tax appeals for a negotiated 50% reduction. The thing is, this is the second year in a row we’ve agreed to a large reduction and we already know the assessment will be appealed again this year. No government can survive these massive tax revenue reductions year after year. The sole cause of the reduction is prosecutorial actions by the NJDEP/Attorney General. All of us know that this is not economically sustainable but all the good people working in Cumberland County NJ have been ineffective in getting Trenton’s unelected bureaucrats to stop financially ruining our local communities.
The underlying issue is that funding is not available to meet state-imposed land use requirements. The compliance cost of these state regulations exceeds the financial capacity and even the net worth of the property owners. While we want to ‘get along’ and do everything according to state law, there just isn’t any money to do it. So the state responds by prosecuting low income homeowners who cannot afford a lawyer and get bulldozed in the system. This ‘criminalization’ of ordinary citizens is unjust but remains a part of our daily lives. Baysave is committed to raising public and lawmake awareness on this environmental justice issue but so far we have no tangible results from our efforts to reach lawmakers.
I am grateful for the hard honest work of our freeholders, tax board and local officials but bluntly, we are losing this battle! Meanwhile, I’ve proposed ways to offset the loss and raise additional local property tax revenue through cooperation with our nonprofit Baysave but so far there has been no positive response to the proposal.
The 50% savings in tax will come in handy to pay part of our legal bills from this ongoing mess.