We here at Magazzuwatch read with interest this article in the Salem County newspaper Today’s Sunbeam that Salem County is making sure that farms are truly deserving of the lower taxes under the Farmland Assessment Act.
Pervasive exploitation revealed in an audit by the state Office of Legislative Services has led the Salem County Board of Taxation to roll out an extensive initiative to educate farmers about the regulations and crack down on violators.
Salem County was among three agricultural communities that had become the focus of the 2008 audit, along with Burlington and Hunterdon counties, officials said.
In one instance, the audit showed an unnamed landowner paid $15.05 in property taxes on 7.26 acres of permanent pasture — with only one sheep.
Another property owner with 35.46 acres submitted an incomplete and unsigned application and paid $601.93 in property taxes.
Every farm less than 12 acres in Salem County will be getting its own personal inspection from the local tax assessor by year’s end, part of a three-year process aimed at stemming abuse of the farmland assessment tax break.
The Cumberland County Freeholders should replicate this effort. Lets protect farms but also protect the taxpayer from savvygentleman “farmers” stealing the County blind. What if the state performed an audit of Cumberland County? For once can one of the other 6 Freeholders show some initiative? You were also elected to represent your constituents.