Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elected Officials Complacent with Property Taxes?

Recent stories about appeals regarding property taxes had me doing a double check of my own property taxes. I have a small house on a small piece of property in lovely Long Branch, NJ. My property is “only” about 50x150 wedged nicely between two other residential lots of about the same size with similar sized houses upon them. A quick search shows that my neighbors and I pay about the same in property taxes (about $4700/year!), which is nice considering that the average in town is about $6500/year and the average in NJ is about the same.

Since my taxes are so “low”, I almost suspect that most people would tell me to keep my mouth shut and be happy with my “low” tax rate. Who do I mean when I say “most people”? OUR ELECTED OFFICIALLS for starters.

Adam Schneider – Mayor For Life of Long Branch – If I have the right record, then he’s paying just over $17K/year for a 195x95 lot. That vs the $6500 average. Ouch. You’d think he’d be trying to cut the size of local government and local spending if not to save himself a few beans. But no such luck for the rest of us.

What about our Freeholders? They should have some kind of power over property taxes right?

Lillian Burry – 3.68 acres in Colts Neck – just over $12K/year which is about average for Colts Neck.

Newly Elected Amy Mallet – 100x138 in Fair Haven – just over $15K/year – about $3K over the average.

John D’Amico – 125x125 in Oceanport (Say can he fix that Monmouth Park/Branchport Creek thing, he’s local!) – just over $7K/year about average.

Then came the two SHOCKERS.

Rob Clifton – a measly 100x150 in Matawan – not much larger than my own 50x150 in Long BranchOVER $20K/year! OUCH. The average in Matawan in “only” $7600.

Which saves the best for last….

Barbara McMorrow – the anti-youth rights – put stickers on new driver’s cars so they are easier targets and a better source of revenue Freeholder from…. Well that’s the problem.  I’ve read she is from Freehold, and I’ve read she is from Howell, not sure which if either is right. 

No records are found on DataUniverse for Barbara McMorrow. Process of elimination would seem to indicate that she must be married to a “Kevin McMorrow” who owns property in Howell. If I have the wrong person, can someone please confirm for me that Mrs. or Ms. McMorrow lives in Monmouth County at least?

If I have the right person, then Barbara, or her husband or dad, or whatever, is “only” paying about $3700/year in property taxes, well below the $6600 average for Howell and NJ.

I guess it might be possible that Barbara lives with mom and dad? Maybe these are the people? The ones paying almost $13K/year for a little 67x158 lot in Howell! Don’t forget, I’m paying “only” $4700 or so for my lot of about that size. Maybe I shouldn't be complaining afterall, but fact is, my $4700 is too much and $13K is alarming. FWIW - My dad pays about $13K for his property in Howell as well, sad.

These are our elected officials. These are the people who SHOULD be able to address property taxes, in fact, every time it’s an election year, I’m sure that they DO address property taxes, or at least say something about them, but at the end of the day, our elected officials are just as screwed as the rest of us and haven't done anything about it in 50+ years. To borrow a lyric from the song “Save Yourself” from the band “Stabbing Westward”: 

You can not save me
You can't even save yourself
I can not save you
I can't even save myself
Save yourself
So just save yourself 

When will our elected officials, who are paying as much or more than the rest of us, finally step up and come through for the people of NJ? Will property taxes ever be “affordable” or “reasonable” at the very least? With the end of the year so close, I’ll be taking a look at my tax contributions once again. Last year I was just about a 50/50 partner with the government having paid half of my salary to taxes. Imagine if your income taxes weren't withdrawn from your paycheck automatically and you had to write a check for them like you might do for your property taxes. I certainly wouldn't be able to write a check for 50% of my salary each year. Have we all become complacent with our tax situation? Is anyone paying attention? If I wasn’t paying half of MY money the money to taxes, I’m pretty sure that the amount I’m paying is enough to hire myself a full time police officer as my personal body guard, or a full time teacher as my personal full time educator, or two or three full time clerks to handle paperwork in my household. I could probably afford my own garbage truck even, and use it to start my dream job in sanitation. I could give to the poor, or to the church, or both! Or I could go buy that new Corvette ZR1 I've always wanted, which might help GM stay afloat an extra few days.

There is a light, my pal, Steve Lonegan is running for Govenor. He is at least claiming to be willing to fight the unions (hopefully he includes the teachers union) and willing to cut the size of government and government spending. Based on his previous success as Mayor of Bogota, I have faith in Steve to do a better job than our current administration, I just hope that other over taxed residents of New Jersey get on board and help Steve address the problems, property taxes among them.


Anonymous said...

you are wrong about barbara... she lives in freehold and her husband is not kevin

James Hogan said...

Can you point me to some public record that proves she lives in Freehold? There are no "MCMORROW"s in Freehold paying property taxes according to the worst newspaper ever's database of info - http://php.app.com/mod4_07/results.php?county=Monmouth&muniprop=%25&location_num=&location_st=&owner=McMorrow&Submit=Search&classname=%25&descp=

Point still stands - we're all paying too much in property taxes and the people in charge aren't resolving the problem.

Son of Liberty said...

I live in a 4 bedroom home on a little over 3 quarters of an acre in an older neighborhood.

My taxes are about 10 grand per year.
For that I get outstanding Schools,
regular garbage pickup, snow plowing, quick police and emergency response, A great county park system. relativly well maintained roads, a low crime rate, public librarys. I am sure I missed some things.

While government should never stop trying to cut waste and seek to eliminate inneffeciency all things considered I don't have such a bad deal.

Local government is not the direct reason for high taxes. High taxes are caused by overedvelopment resulting from MT Laurel and the ratables chase as well as increasing mandates on schools by the State and Federal Government.

James Hogan said...

I'll add... some googling still claims she lives in Freehold... her husband seems to be Patrick McMorrow.

There is also no PATRICK MCMORROW listed in Freehold. There is a MCMORROW, PATRICK & CAROLE in Red Bank(Monmouth)... MCMORROW III PATRICK J in Robbinsville (Mercer)... and a MCMORROW PATRICK & ROSEMARIE in Gloucester (Camden).

I'm sure she lives somewhere in Freehold... I'll believe everything I read on those interwebs.... just curious if someone can point me to some records to prove this. Maybe Barbara is a nickname for Carole?