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Letter to the Editor: SP GOP Chairman Endorses Sewer Utility

Bill McClintock replies to an April 25 letter by Scotch Plains Democratic chairman Lou Beckerman.

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the from Scotch Plains Democrat Chairman Lou Beckerman. It contains many misrepresentations and inaccuracies that I would like to clarify. Here are the facts: 

First, the fact is that the sewer utility was created to enable the council to remain under the state-mandated cap in 2009, not so that it could raise taxes. In fact, the municipal portion of our taxes decreased significantly that year. The alternative to creating the utility was massive layoffs of approximately 28 township employees. Indeed, if this year’s budget passes, our municipal tax rate will be 3 cents lower than in 2008.

Second, the fact is that the sewer utility is a much more equitable way of paying our sewer bills. We now pay based on actual use rather than paying based on the value of our houses, which means that Mr. Beckerman and Councilman Glover, who both pay fairly substantial property tax bills, are paying less now under the new system. It also means that nonprofits that never paid before are paying now, bringing more than $100,000 per year to the township that it was not able to collect under the old system. Because commercial and nonprofit users now pay their fair shares, every resident pays less than they did under the old system. 

Third, the fact is that the entire surplus in the sewer utility is being returned to the rate payers. The majority of the council chose to return it in phases to avoid huge spikes in the rates over the next two years, particularly for the commercial and nonprofit users who now pay the overwhelming majority of the bill.

Fourth, the fact is that the mayor was the first to discuss the issue of the surplus at a council meeting. Mr. Beckerman was not in attendance at the untelevised meeting. In fact, the mayor asked the CFO to discuss the large surplus at the conference meeting where they were scheduled to set the rate, exactly at the time they needed to discuss it. Unlike Mr. Glover, however, the mayor does not spend her time taking credit and patting herself on the back. In fact, she shared credit with Mr. Glover in spite of the fact that she was the first to address the matter.

Fifth, Mr. Beckerman questioned whether the mayor addressed the downtown business owners about the SID and the $400 SID fee. In fact the $400 charge was the result of a meeting with one of the leaders of the business community who said the flat fee would make it more acceptable. The mayor had numerous meetings about the SID with the business community over the last 6 years, including a couple of meetings at Scotch Hills. In fact the first time the SID was considered, there were open meetings every week for 6 months. 

Sixth, the fact is that any money that Councilman Glover claims he has saved, or would like to save the taxpayers, pales in comparison to the $25,000 per year he is costing us taxpayers in the health benefits that he takes from the township. I’m fairly certain he is the only member of the Scotch Plains Council who does. Mr. Beckerman is comforted by Mr. Glover ‘looking out’ for hm. It seems to me that Mr. Glover is really only looking out for himself.

Bill McClintock
Scotch Plains Republican Chair

Oldenhay agroinmay May 09, 2011 at 09:35 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and I have a suggestion. Why don't we fill the Augustine park with sand and let McClintock and Beckerman duke it out? Do either one of these "gentlemen" even have a clue about how childish they sound? My god. We're drowning in redundancy, poop taxes, Sid fees, poor street plowing, hit or miss leaf pickup, senior housing subsidies, foot dragging on merging and empty storefronts. And these two are bickering on who found the surplus that we can't have back first. Both of them are the caboose of the reason train with maybe McClintock being slightly ahead based on his moose knuckle.
w May 10, 2011 at 01:11 AM
my taxes rise every year.the proposed budget also has an increase. how is that lower taxes. lay off the workers or make them do a full honest days work!!!
Michael Lewis May 10, 2011 at 01:52 PM
As a Republican living in Fanwood I take issue with Mr. McClintock’s’ letter, which attempts to divert attention from several uncomfortable points. 1) Cost increases at RVSA were driven by court mandates but compounded by poor oversight. This allowed massive cost overruns on a methane generator that will likely never be used. 2) By definition, non-profits provide some form of public good that should be considered as a form of in-lieu payment. I doubt this was EVER raised when the issue of equity came up. 3) The government either fundamentally miscalculated monies needed on the face or in the enforcement of the implementation. Either way, there seems to be a recurring pattern when taken in the context of other issues in SP. 4) The government compounds the issue by delaying a refund of the overcharge. As a Republican, you of ALL people should realize your government is making a decision on an allocation of cash flow that should rightly devolve back to the taxpayer. (Continued below...)
Michael Lewis May 10, 2011 at 01:54 PM
And of course, I cannot forget that…5)…sewer charges cannot be deducted when one itemizes and 6) if commercial and non-profits are contributing so much to the inflow in the first place, why is a charge on individuals even necessary (in Fanwood we get by on charging commercial entities only – we are only involved with PARSA and the charge is periodically revisited but it seems to cover things)? 7) To put it bluntly, the note about Mr. Glover’s healthcare costs is a separate issue and a smokescreen I understand that you have to defend your government’s decision, but this is indefensible as a matter of Republican principle.
klubkleb May 10, 2011 at 02:31 PM
How much of a tax deduction are you actually losing on your federal form? A few hundred dollars at the most? That barely makes any difference in what your tax is anyway. I'll sacrifice a few bucks of tax for everyone (namely the Y and the restaurants, etc) paying for the tones of water they use.

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