Open Space Tax Theft – By County

Which counties are misappropriating for their own general budgets tax money intended for the purchase and maintenance of open space properties.  Certainly Union County as I outlined in a letter in today’s Westfield Leader:

You [Leader/Times editorial] argue that the county Open Space Tax should sunset in 2020 to provide taxpayer relief. But, in making your points, you fail to appreciate the extent to which Union County has been openly using this money for their own budget rather than its intended purpose, the acquisition of open space. In the 2016 budget, revenue is anticipated from:

  • Sheet 8A – Open Space-Parks Maintenance: $2,250,000
  • Sheet 8: Debt Service – Open Space: $4,464,841

Municipalities would likely prefer to use that $2.25 million to pay for maintenance of their own (instead of the county’s) parks and that $4.4 million is going to repay general debt of the county as there has been more than enough money collected through the Open Space tax (about $10 million annually since 2001) to pay for everything bought through it.

This is blatant theft by deception and the county is looking for the blessing of a willfully benighted electorate to vote to continue this fraud in perpetuity. My guess as to why the freeholders want a ballot question this early is that some ratings agency may have noticed this substantial revenue in danger of being lost if county voters ever wake up to how it is being misappropriated.

Are any other counties pulling the same stunts?

Included in each county budget is Sheet 42 titled:

COUNTY/MUNICIPAL OPEN SPACE, RECREATION, FARMLAND AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION TRUST FUND

Here are those sheets for 2015 and when put into a spreadsheet you see some other counties with suspicious figures but it is still Union County that stands out:

open space union county 2015
.
What we learn:

  • About half of the $242 million appropriated in 2015 in all county budgets was for acquisition of lands.  Union County appropriated $0 for land acquisition.
  • Of the $12.9 million reported as being paid out in salaries 27% ($3.5 million) is for Union County including a novel item titled ‘Due Current’ which is to pay parks employees.
  • Other items unique to Union County are $223,952 to the Union County Improvement Authority (to pay for the solar panel bond default?) and $209,540 for ‘Loans’.

 

 

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bpaterson on April 28, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    JB1-Every financial item on the Union County govt needs to be scrutinized, not only by the resident watchdogs but also by authorities. Accountability is zero in the union county govt. There modus operandi is: its whatever they can get away with until they are caught. The watchdogs chronicle this modus operandi all these years. One would think under a proper and ethical good govt, integriy of financial would be a given. Yet UC govt hides and wastes and transfer so much money around its tuff to track. JB1-You noted we all should study the audit also. With the OSTF, these misc cost burdens that are imposed-I did OPRA something couple of years ago. I’ll track the data down and report back.

    Reply

  2. Posted by ReadsLikeAMafiaBook on April 28, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    And that fat fuck of a governor who ran on cleaning up corruption (or at least that was the public’s understanding), who NEVER prosecuted those cases himself because that would take energy, time, and competence, none of which that fat fuck governor has, appointed a democrat attorney general, can be seen dancing his fat self at Bruce Springsteen’s concerts (so 70’s Governor) like a love-struck teenager and now a Trump Humper. Obviously, Christie has never had a work ethic … never … too fat and lazy. Why am I so angry? He is a fucking self-serving asshole. Someone told me that years ago, who worked with FF (fat fuck) at law firm in Cranford Dughi Hewit, that he was arrogant, self-serving, lazy, ego maniac. So true.

    Bottom line is nothing will be done with Union County stealing taxpayer money. Christie doesn’t give a shit. He is depending on Trump to win, hump on Trump’s coat-tails and get another easy do-nothing job. After all, Christie has done it his whole life.

    Trump & Christie = RINO sick mother fuckers.

    Ask me how I really feel.

    Reply

  3. Posted by ReadsLikeAMafiaBook on April 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    As an aside to show what a fucking corrupt governor FF is, if not stupid, he nominated John Hudak, a democrat troll (remember me fuck?), to a Superior Court judgeship, even though John Hudak, Esq. VIOLATED a FEDERAL JUDGE’s ORDER. (later on that) I have the proof if you want it.

    Keep in mind that John Hudak’s son, Christopher Hudak, who is the Linden Democrat chair is employed at Kean [University…lol] because he can’t get a real job, is a Union County freeholder also who bashed FFC (fat fuck Christie) and whose mother sits on the Linden BOE and is a whiner, but that aside.

    FAT FUCK CHRISTOPHER CHRISTIE nominated DEMOCRAT JOHN HUDAK, who he knew or should have known violated a FEDERAL ORDER, for a judgeship who was a DEMOCRAT OPERATIVE and violated a FEDERAL JUDGE’S ORDER. FF gave this worthless piece of shit attorney John Hudak a judgeship.

    Reply

  4. Posted by ReadsLikeAMafiaBook on April 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    John Hudak (I refuse to call you Judge cause you don’t deserve it unless you agree with the joke .. what do you call an attorney with a 50 IQ… a Judge) that’s you. Remember all those good people you were accusing of being spies for JTG? Good people who you smeared … all the while you were the spy at least or at best a fucking traitor. Karma mother fucker… Former Mayor Weirkmeister, a man whose integrity you cannot ever match EVER … I tried to warn everyone about you … Karma mother fucker.

    Reply

  5. […] County is misappropriating about $10 million annually of the Open Space tax for their own general budget and they want to continue that practice indefinitely by placing the […]

    Reply

  6. Posted by Chris on April 29, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Dear RLAMB …. I think I am in love. Please don’t hold back. If only more taxpayers would grow some balls and speak up. I guess they like getting f’d. All you had to say is so true. I have yet to meet a politician who actually cares about their territory or taxpayers.

    Reply

  7. Posted by ReadsLikeAMafiaBook on May 3, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Why thank you Chris. I may have gone over the top a wee bit with my language, but all TRUE and good people suffer for the gross incompetence of these so-called “public servants.” Right down from the Governor to the Union County Freeloaders. Disgusting … more disgusting than my language.

    Reply

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