QUESTION: Should the surplus be distributed back to the residents?
ANSWER: Great gimmick, really bad idea!
First, in this year’s budget, we agreed to use $3 million from the surplus to offset taxes. It is the way it is always done. It works.
Over the years, we have worked hard to replenish the surplus by watching all spending. Since our opponents want to spend the money that we all worked so hard to accumulate indicates that they don’t know how to stabilize taxes.
If one big taxpayer were to hit hard times and be late on their taxes, our surplus would have to cover the lack of revenue until we collected. If the surplus was reduced or eliminated, we would see the biggest tax rate hike in Delran history.
Finally, we collect the taxes for the school district, the county, the fire district, the county library, county open space tax and our open space tax. That is a total of approximately $50 million dollars that comes in and out our bank account each year. If anyone of those other entities requests their money, we are obligated to write a check to them immediately. If we didn’t have the money in the surplus, we would be obligated to borrow that money to give to the other organization. That costs the township money.
In 2008, Ken and Gary saw that the prior council had used $2.2 million of their $2.9 million surplus for tax relief, they knew that building up the surplus had to be a priority. In the next 7 years, they worked to increase our surplus by $5 million dollars while keeping the Local Purpose Tax stable.
Like everyone else in the world understands, if you possibly can set aside money to protect yourself during hard times, you save…and you save as much as you can. Has anyone ever heard the expression, “Don’t bother saving for a rainy day”? Neither have we.
No gimmicks, just hard work.
QUESTION: Was there really a 58% tax increase?
First, if your taxes went up 58% you would not need a Facebook post to tell you about it.
The best way to determine what was collected in taxes from the taxpayers is to show the amount collected from the taxpayers. Simple.
The first budget that this Council had the opportunity to pass was 2009 budget. (When elected in 2008, the 2008 budget was already passed.) We had to deal with long-existing policies, contractual commitments and an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression.
After establishing policies to stabilize taxes, our plan worked! The amount raised by taxation contained only a minor increase of 0.16 percent over the last 6 years. That is an average of less than 0.03 percent per year.
Did they go up and down, yes. But, the end result was stability. On the chart below you will see that the amount raised by taxation went from $10,704,500 in 2011 to $10,721,788 in 2016. That is $17,288 higher 6 years later; a 0.16% difference.
QUESTION: What is the story with the trash contract?
ANSWER: This one is easy.
Delran agreed to a trash collection contract 5 years ago after we received two pretty good bids. After all, we were in the middle of a pretty serious recession.
We put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) this fall as our contract was expiring. We received 2 bids, from the same two bidders as 5 years ago (Waste Management and Republic), and both bids were higher than 5 years ago. That was no surprise.
Again, we selected the lower of the two bids. Again, it was Republic. In an effort to reduce the expense, Council decided to use the automated bucket collection option since we that would save $17,000 a year for 5 years compared to the old manual collection method. That’s $85,000 over 5 years.
Included in that contract, Republic would put a 96-gallon bucket at each house for the resident to use, at no cost. They are the same size as the recycle buckets that we currently use. Residents can purchase 1 or 2 additional buckets if they think that will need to put out more weekly than the amount contained in the 96-gallon buckets. They hold the equivalent of 3+ conventional cans. Three 96 gallon buckets are the equivalent of 10 conventional sized trash cans.
You can read even more about this agreement by clicking here.
NOTHING else changes. Sofas, refrigerators, yard trimmings, etc. are all handled in the same manner as before! There is no issue here.
QUESTION: Has the Mayor neglected his duties by not attending work sessions?
ANSWER: Uninformed politicians trying to create an issue where none exists.
The Mayor, in our form of government, is the head of the Executive/Administrative Branch. Town Council is the Legislative Branch. The Mayor’s job is to work with the Township Administrator and the department heads to keep the town running properly. The Township Council gives the Mayor and Administrator direction and the Mayor and Administrator execute the day to day management of the township services.
The Mayor is under no obligation to attend these meetings, just as the President does not attend every session of Congress. He does not vote, he is not included in Roll Call and may deliver remarks if he wishes. But, he does that after the Council delivers their reports. The Mayor is there to observe and comment only.
Every member of Council should know this and anyone running for office should know the responsibilities of the office they wish to hold.
QUESTION: Will my vote really make a difference?
Delran’s municipal elections are rarely won or lost by more than a couple of hundred votes. There are no delegates, superdelegates or Electoral College. This is where your actual vote counts. One recent election was won by a mere 11 votes. People around the world are giving their lives for the right to vote, we urge you to take the time to exercise your right.