Archive for the ‘Budgets’ Category

More Open Space Tax Theft

The theft continues as money raised by the Open Space tax is diverted to the county budget:

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Making Up Union County Taxes

Outgoing County Manager Al Faella desperately wanted to make this statement:
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County taxes (excluding the Open Space theft) since 2001:
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$8.7 Million County Tax Hike In 2018

The 2018 Executive budget was released today at the freeholder meeting and taxes will be going up to $363,468,156 from $354,769,823 in 2017 – 2.45%.

Here are the county manager’s summary, the announcement of where the dog-and-pony budget ‘hearings’ will be this year, and the revenue page from the Executive Budget. Much more detail on the budget over the next few days on this blog.

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STA on Union County Taxes

In their latest blog piece the Summit Taxpayers’ Association (STA) asks whose fault is the alarming increase in government spending and taxation in Union County.

The question is not directly answered (though I have an answer) but STA, through research of budget documents, does make some salient points, including:

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Union/Morris Budget Comparison – 2017

The average Morris County homeowner can expect to pay just under $19 more in the county portion of the tax bill this year and Morris County Administrator John Bonanni and Freeholder Christine Myers took it upon themselves to explain the county budget to the Harding Township Committee this week.

While in Union County:
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Without explanation or apology. Here is more on the contrast:

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UCCF 4/27/17: Hoarding Surplus


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After months of review the freeholders came up with a savings of $724 thousand to get the amount to be raised by taxation for 2017 to $354,769,823 (an increase of $9,495,027 from the 2016 tax levy of $345,274,766). As you will see in this blog there could have been NO tax increase (as is the case in at least three other counties) or there could have even have been a substantial tax DECREASE. It all comes down to the surplus.
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Surplus is an essential aspect of government budgeting. Budgets need to prepared at the beginning of the year and money anticipated to be coming from the state or federal governments cannot be included. Usually that money comes in throughout the year and the surplus remains.

In 2014 Union County sold Runnells Hospital.

With that as background the rest of this story will be told in spreadsheets based on data from Union County budgets going back to 2005 and surplus figures from all counties for 2016 and from the fourteen counties that have their budgets online for 2017 as well as the corresponding tax amounts for 2016 and 2017. Draw your own conclusions.

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UCCF 4/27/17: UCUA Lost Million

Here is the revenue page showing the Union County Utilities Authority (UCUA) item going from $2,000,000 in 2016 to $1,000,000 in 2017:

ucua revenue

That $2 million amount from the UCUA first appeared in the 2012 budget (page 30) as part of the debt-extension deal pushed through in 2011 and had been at $2 million through 2016. However, the UCUA has had trouble coming up with the tonnage they guaranteed so Covanta is squeezing them and, by extension, Union County taxpayers.