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Englishtown Seeking 2 Cent Tax Increase

Councilwoman Carr: "It's a Cadillac budget." Increased ticketing and water and sewer revenues responsible for surplus. Borough hires new tax assessor.

Unless another Council member seconds Councilwoman Jayne Carr's motion to explore budget reduction measures, Englishtown residents can expect to see their taxes rise two cents per $100 of assessed property value in 2011.

A special meeting was held Wednesday evening at the to discuss budget and personnel matters. Scheduled to be formally introduced at a meeting March 23, the proposed budget includes a two percent raise for all borough employees, new computers for the police department, and a new police car.

Carr led off the meeting by stating that the recommendation of borough CFO Laurie Finger was to leave money in the surplus and raise taxes by two cents on the $100.

"At the end of the last budget workshop, my position was that in no way can I support a budget that supports a tax increase to the taxpayers in this economy," said Carr. "There's a lot of things in that budget that are either things we can take out and take surplus out and at the minimum come in at a zero increase to the taxpayers, or we could quite easily come in at a negative number."

Englishtown is anticipating a surplus generated from court revenues and water and sewer revenues. Court revenues, which would account for the , are produced by two part-time special traffic officers who issue an average of 60 or more tickets a weekend, according to a handwritten note included in the budget packet. Water and sewer revenues are brought in from wells that the town owns.

According to Carr, if $40,000 were to be taken from the either the court surplus or the water and sewer surplus, it would be enough to produce a budget with no tax increase without cutting the proposed two percent salary raise and police funding.

However, Carr said the town would like to maintain the surplus.

"They want to put it aside for a rainy day fund," said Carr in a telephone interview following the meeting. "They need to look out the window -- it's raining."

Neither Finger, Mayor Thomas Reynolds, nor any other Council members have been asked to verify Carr's stated use of the surplus as of publish time.

"In this economy, for everybody, whether they be working, not working, seniors, disabled, whoever it is, it's a struggling economy," Carr stated for the Council. "I don't see how we can responsibly say that we're having a tax increase of any kind this year on the part of the budget that we have control over."

Concluding her comments, Councilwoman Carr called for discussion on the proposed budget, but the only Council member to opine on the matter was Maryanne Krawiec.

"I have not decided yet how I will vote on this tax increase," said Krawiec. "Fundamentally, I don't believe that we should be raising taxes, however I understand why we would have a surplus, and so I'm on the fence which way I'll vote."

During the public portion of the meeting, resident Paula Kuchinski offered her opinion.

"It's past time for the Mayor and council to follow Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney's lead to give the taxpayers a break," said Kuchinski. "The economical situation as a whole couldn't be worse and you have the unmitigated gall to even propose raising our taxes through your proposed budget. I tried to understand how last year you had no money, but this year you have all sorts of money to buy all these things."

Kuchinski went on to question the impact a tax increase would have on the borough's 92 householders 62 and older, who have not had an increase in social security in two years because of COLA, and the 212 renters in town. She also asked for the Council to consider using the surplus for infrastructure projects.

"Having been a taxpayer here for 36 years, my opinion is Englishtown Council has done very little to bring Englishtown back to its grandeur. In my opinion, our town looks worse now than it has in a long time. Perhaps if you put your heads together it might be possible to bring Englishtown back."

The proposed budget is set to be introduced on Wednesday, March 23 and can be adjusted down or up from that meeting before the scheduled adoption on Wednesday, April 27.

Carr suggested residents attend both meetings and let their voices be heard if they want the Council to consider amending the budget.

"The reason this is going through is because nobody comes out to hear what's transpiring. If the public comes here and makes some noise, the Council may change things," said Carr. 

New Tax Assessor Hired

The Council also met Wednesday to hire a new tax assessor to replace the borough's former assessor, who retired. Several candidates were interviewed for the new position, but the Council unanimously approved the hiring of Mark Fitzpatrick of Lake Como by a 6-0 vote.

Fitzpatrick will collect an an annual salary of $6,000 and work part-time for a minimum of two hours a week. His hours will coincide with those of the borough's tax collector, which is currently Tuesday evenings 5 to 7 p.m. During this time the tax assessor will also to be available to the public.

Kathleen Bien March 14, 2011 at 12:50 PM
2 cent/$100 municipal tax added to the 5.2 cent/$100 for the school tax incresase proposed by the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education and that's a 7.2 cent/$100 for Englishtown residents. AND NOTE THAT THE SCHOOL TAX INCREASE FOR MANALAPAN IS ONLY 1 CENT/$100...... WHY???? --- That's a 6.03% increase for Englishtown vs. a 1.1% increase for Manalapan. The school tax is included in property taxes so doesn't that fall under the 2% cap? And why are the 708 households in Englishtown burdened with a 6.03% increase when the 13,789 households in Manalapan have an increase of only 1.1%? There are a lot more children going to school from Manalapan than Englishtown.
Janet Leonardis March 14, 2011 at 01:45 PM
If Englishtown merges with Manalapan the school tax rate could be the same. Why have the towns not been merged?
Janet Leonardis March 14, 2011 at 01:52 PM
Since Mayor Reynolds feels that a $60 a year increase is insignificant, I will be expecting him to send me a check for $60 to cover that expense. He must have more money than the rest of us. I would suggest the taxpayers of Englishtown all ask Mayor Reynolds for the $60 he feels is not important to us as I can only assume based on his comment that he has money to give away.
Sandra Lippman March 14, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Yes, Ms. Carr, I do believe your quote is true, and I hope this article has people coming out to your next meeting to express their concerns and thoughts on how to help their town without raising taxes as the only solution. Perhaps the mayor doesn't realize how many other areas may also be saying to his constituents that "It's [only] $1.20 a week. $60 a year. That's a can of Coke or one less coffee every week." With his simple math, there may be dozens of areas in residents' lives where they're hearing the same, and then it adds up quickly to a significant amount. While I agree reserves are critical, so are the times we're living through. In some parts of the world we're shown just how much creative thinking and rigorous management can produce in the face of adversity. Perhaps dire times will ignite new approaches in Englishtown, and its elected officials will find ways they can can "do more with less" and keep taxes level for now.
Barbara Paula Kuchinski March 14, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Proposed: Man.- Eng. K-8 2011-2012 Budget: 5.2 cents for Englishtown increase; High School: 0. Use the Mayor's math that a 2 cent increase will be $60 per year increase for the averaged valued Englishtown home. Add in the 5.2 and it's now up to $210. This may not seem like much to some, however, this may seem considerable to those on fixed incomes and those that have not seen a raise in several years and will not see a raise this year - IF they have a job at all. Keep in mind all prices continue to rise -- food and gas to name only two. And keep in mind those on Social Security, not having a raise in the last two years, will now be burdened with an ADDITIONAL AND YET ANOTHER MUNICIPAL TAX INCREASE AGAIN THIS YEAR.
Helen March 14, 2011 at 07:44 PM
In economic times such as these , it would be prudent to take another look at this budget and see what items could be trimmed. It sounds like there are some items that are NOT ESSENTIAL that could be cut. Helen
Barbara Paula Kuchinski March 14, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Jayne couldn't have said it any better. Thank you to all of the taxpayers that have called and e-mailed me. I will continue to speak out in your behalf at the Council meetings and bring your concerns to Mayor and Council. I only ask that you attend the meetings and support me. Barbara "Paula"
PAR March 17, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Lets set some thing straight Janet who want to make people feel that she feels the pain of a tax increase just happens to have a home on the water in Lacy, guess she does not want us folks to know how much money she has. Sandra Lippman may live in Manalapan, if she does, mind your own business Ms busy body. Jayne and Barbara are just bitter that they now have to pay there fair share in property tax, after having such low assessment for over 20 years. Welcome to reality.
Barbara Paula Kuchinski March 18, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Mr./Mrs. PAR, My husband and I added an addition to our home perhaps 10 years ago, so we were and are paying our fair share and we do own our home free and clear, but frankly, it's really none of your business about my financial situation, as it is none of your business how much Janet is worth. The taxpayers you are also referring to in your statement...is your intent to cause tension among those that have lived here for a long time and those that have recently move to ENGLISHTOWN? -- so sad and counterproductive. If you felt this way, you had two Council Meeting a month to voice your opinion and offer constructive ideas from the time you moved here. AND you would also know that it is NOT up to the taxpayers to have their home s properly apraised, it's the Mayor and Council. There is a saying, "If your not part of the solution, than your part of the problem." What would be a big help to everyone, would be if you gave facts and figures and ways to move Englishtown forward. Next Council Meeting is on Wednesday, March 23, 6:30PM Workshop followed by 7:30PM Regular Council Meeting and it is my understanding that the 2011 Budget will be addressed, perhaps I'll see you at the meeting and maybe hear some of your constructive ideas. I also feel so sorry for you that you don't get the bigger picture... the economy. Barbara Paula Kuchinski
Janet Leonardis March 18, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Lets really set something straight. I am an American and believe in our democracy. Whatever I have, which is really none of your business at all, I earnded and pay tax on it. Since I do pay my fair share of tax and aways have, I also feel government needs to be accountable down to every last cent. I feel the pain every time government takes what is not necessary, not only for myself, but for everyone else. It is an attack on the American way of life, patriotism and our economy. Without a strong economy none of us will thrive, and the actions of the Englishtown Boro council, Jayne Carr excluded, are couter productive to strengthing the economy and making Englishtown a desireable place to live. Neither Jayne nor Barbara are bitter, they pay their fail share and always have. They are simply patriotic Americans wanting to protect our way of life. In case you are unaware, that does not include unnecessary excessive taxes, police states, unnecessary services, socialism, communism or anything that resembles that or leads to it. Sandra, and anyone else is right to be concerned when they see incidences of tax hikes that will overburden the tax paying public. So before you try to silence and attack those who speak out, remember freedom of speech is also part of Democracy in this country.
Janet Leonardis March 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM
John, you should get your facts straight. Expect to be hearing from my lawyer as slander is not legal. I did not run for council again as it was a waste of time. The majority of coucil votes to spend money like water. I voted to cut spending at every oppotunity, but 4 votes are needed to stop the wasteful use of our revenues. But if the day comes that 3 other people are willing to sit on that council and stop the nonsense, you can believe I will run and make myself that fourth vote. I also have not idea why you think I hate this town. I've been here over 30 years and would be long gone if I hated it. That being said, all further communication with you will be via my attorney.
Sandra Lippman March 19, 2011 at 01:05 PM
“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people” Eleanor Roosevelt.
Barbara Paula Kuchinski March 19, 2011 at 04:48 PM
In response to John Brown's post: I did run for a seat on council, I was asked to run by someone on the Republican Party. That person wanted me to replace Jayne Gallagher and I campaigned with Robilotti and Carr. According to Official General Election results of Nov.8,2005 full term: Robilotti:197, Simon:196, Gallagher:185, Kuchinski:181 and 2 years unexpired: Carr:241. I did run in 2010, beginning my campaign perhaps 4-5 days BEFORE the election and at that, only e-mailing some friends to write me in. I did this due to the fact that I was getting discussed with so many things happening on Council that were not moving Englishtown forward in my opinion. I do not have the breakdown, however there were 50 write-in, unfortunately my name was misspelled; used only my middle name or my first name and couldn't be counted, oh and some write-in's were crude and inappropriate that I don't even remember seeing them published. The Board of Election should have a list of all the write-in should you want to see them, maybe you should it will be a real eye-opener. And Mr. Brown let me fill you in on something - it's my understanding that ManalapanPatch was never designed for your nonsense AND in my mind people's children are SOOOOOO OFF LIMITS!!!! Barbara Paula Kuchinski
Barbara Paula Kuchinski March 19, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Mr. Brown, maybe you should have also told everyone...Monday, March 21 the State Senate will meet to vote on A-3766 S-2664 “Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act” and the impact this could have on their wallets! See NJ League of Municipalities for full details.
Sandra Lippman March 19, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Well, Mr. Brown, I won't say you are not intelligent, but will add that Einstein has a quote that fits . . . "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." I'm rooting for those showing courage of their convictions to work together to make our bordering towns and greater community a better place to live. It will take innovative thinking and working together, not tearing each other apart to get there.
david tender March 28, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Englishtown sucks from the cops to the politicians
Sandra Lippman April 03, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Note to R. Marchinko, who I do not have as much time to look up on the Internet as s/he apparently does. I continue to get updates with interest in intelligent comments on public issues that come up, like this thread. Did you have an opinion and input that would be helpful to any of us to weigh after doing your research, perhaps on the issues instead of individuals? Thanks, if you have time to research and post what you're thinking yourself on the topic and sharing what might help others think things through, and thank you Barbara Paula Kuchinski for sharing your ideas for others to consider as well.
R. Marchinko April 03, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Note to S. Lippman -- Are Kuchinski's public relations person? Based on the video of her making herself look like a moron, she needs all the help she can get. So I will put up my post again -- I did a simple search and found Kuchinski's name is all over the Internet complaining about Englishtown this and Englishtown that. The strange thing is that she appears to have no job, no government experience...ZIPPO. So the big question is WHO is Kuchinski and WHAT makes her an expert when it's pretty clear to me her only "job" is to go to town hall meetings and annoy people?
Sandra Lippman April 04, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Taking your lead on re-posting, R. Marchinko, simply as a citizen hoping for better exchanges of ideas, good neighbors finding ways to make where they live a better place, and better broad collaboration on local levels to make it easier to get through challenging times. 9:05am on Saturday, March 19, 2011 “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” Quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

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