Municipal Budgets 2021 (2) Tax Rankings

How much does each municipality in Union County charge their taxpayers for the services they provide?

Other blogs in this series will compare costs by types of service, debt, insurance, and pensions. This one calculates the amount raised by taxation for 2021 divided by population which is an imperfect measurement since owners of commercial properties pay taxes (substantial in cases like our costliest municipality) but are not counted in population figures. They also do not have children to educate or entertain and on account of the jobs they provide are often a boon for their municipalities.

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Municipal Budgets 2021 (1) Websites and Who Pays the Most and Least

That is the question we look to answer in this series.

All but two municipalities in Union County have their 2021 budgets online so this is a good time for comparisons.

We start off with links to the websites where those budgets are uploaded. On Monday we will put up a a ranking of taxes paid per capita by municipality based on these budgets and the latest census data. Future blogs will compare debt levels, number of employees, payroll, and pension and health insurance costs.

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Tap Into Taxpayer Anger

Tapinto Westfield followed up on the massive raises Union County department heads are giving themselves by linking to this blog and getting this explanations from the Commissioner Chairman:

Commissioner Chairman Al Mirabella in an interview Monday said the raises for department heads — including an 18.8% salary increase for Union County Manager Ed Oatman, which would bring his salary to $220,977.01 — are justified. “We felt that it was in line with what other executives, other administrators make, and we felt like it was an adjustment to compensate him accordingly for what his responsibility is,” Mirabella said….Mirabella said that in Union County, the county manager serves a role that in some other counties — such as nearby Essex County — is filled by two people: a county executive and a county administrator. Five counties in New Jersey have a county executive….The board arrived at the raises following annual reviews, Mirabella said. Among the considerations, he said, was performance during the pandemic and certain administrators serving in more than one position….The pay hikes also come after a workforce reduction at the county from 2,491 employees to 2,096, Mirabella said.This year, the county shut its jail in Elizabeth through a shared services with Essex County that, officials said, saves $20 million annually, a move enabled by a declining prison population. It follows the 2019 closure of the Union County Juvenile Detention Center in Linden. “There’s been a reduction in the county workforce, which saves obviously significant dollars in fringe benefits,” said Mirabella, who also said the county has a AAA bond rating.

Basically, working from home most of the time, overseeing 400 less people, and not overseeing a jail, juvenile detention center, or Runnells is the justification for an 18.8% raise. And Union County also happens to have a Deputy County Manager. At this rate, imagine what Union County taxpayers would be paying the County Manager if the county had no employees and did nothing.

Other people had different takes:

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Harbor Hopes – Scotch Plains Edition

Democrats did not get elected this year in Kenilworth which gives republicans a 4-2 advantage on the council so the tenement project is in doubt and the pay-to-player engineering firm that pushed the project, Harbor Consultants, is also in doubt for 2022. However donation records show that, if Kenilworth falls through, Scotch Plains can step up as there the democrat triumphed.

Working Union County is one thing as that is a big pot but going after Kenilworth or Scotch Plains might get some notice.

Scotch Plains billing records just came in so here is how much Harbor Consultants donates and how much they get back. We’re talking Oatman money.

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Tap Into Taxpayer Apathy

As is the case in many large organizations, the staff provide direction to the board, rather than vice versa.

Jeffrey C. Hooke – The Myth of Private Equity (pages 10-11)

The quote refers to public pension boards, specifically in Maryland, but applies equally to government boards like the Union County Board of Commissioners who define the art of rubber stamping. This time a media outlet, Tapinto Westfield, noticed possibly on account the massive size of the raises the honchos employed at Union County are giving themselves (throwing in a little something for the board members as well).

For example, at this rate of salary increase, you may be interested to know what year County Manager Ed Oatman will be making over a million dollars in annual salary.

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Oh Christ!

When anyone other than a lickspittle comes to the microphone:

That was not meant for me as I have been banned from speaking at Kenilworth council meetings. That was after the local lickspittle brought up a flyer that the opposition party sent out that included a claim that Kenilworth Democrats “added an additional 19 Borough employees.”

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UCCF 11/4/21: Who Gets an 18.82% Pay Hike?

For years Union County commissioners received annual salaries of $29,500 with the Chair of the Board getting an extra $2,000 and the Vice Chair an extra $1,000.

In 2015 raise ordinances started including commissioner salaries and these fixes have become a seasonal event. At the last  meeting, at a time of private sector layoffs and furloughs and a less ceremonial work for commissioners to do, we got:

835-2021 FIXING THE SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF THE UNION COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, COUNTY MANAGER AND DEPARTMENT HEADS.

Those new salaries:

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UCCF 11/4/21: 2 Questions; 2 Comments

For those interested in knowing what the county has to say about the tree-cutting along the trail between Black Brook and Nomahegan parks, the return to in-person meetings next month, and Harbor Consultants:

More on Harbor Consultants:

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UCCF 11/4/21: Resolutions

For those interested in knowing what the county has to say about the tree-cutting along the trail between Black Brook and Nomahegan parks, the return to in-person meetings next month, and Harbor Consultants, that will be coming tomorrow with my Q&A. Today we had more censorship:

Video Q&A on resolutions with those resolutions and written comments on them including final comments that Bruce Paterson was not able to get out.

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Telltale Coattails

Republicans in Kenilworth won by a landslide. Was it a vote against the democrats in Kenilworth or Murphy as governor?

Looking at the Union County website with detail for 2021 on votes by district for both governor and council tells a tale.

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