Tom Sheppard asks a question about the budget. Sheppard proves Lou and Mile’s lie about the tax reduction. Read on:
When the 2009 budget for Cumberland County was introduced it was heralded by the Freeholders as the “first honest budget in years “. What does that say about previous budgets? Weren’t they honest too? How were they not honest? Having been doing budgets for 28 years as a school board member and now as a township committeeman I along with Sam Fiocchi and Rick Tonnetta decided we needed to look deeper into this budget.
On the surface it looks like we have a reduction in money raised by taxes of $1.3 million. That really sounds good until you see how it was arrived at. An additional $2.4 million has been taken from surplus (your money) out of the $20 million they have. In last years campaign we Republicans advocated using some of the surplus to lower taxes but the Democrats told us that was irresponsible. What makes it irresponsible when we suggest it and responsible when they do it?
Salaries are up by $5.5 million (Freeholders up 88% just this year). Other areas where the illusion of cuts is hidden include Federal Grants where there are $21 million less in the 2009 budget.
Maybe worst of all is Capital Projects where although the Democrat Freeholders propose $7.9 million in projects they only budgeted $300,000 (5% required as down payment.) In last year’s budget they budgeted $4 million (a $3.7 million difference.) Do they expect the money to come out of nowhere? They haven’t provided money for it in the budget so when they will have to bond for it – that means BORROWING it. Debt Service was down $2.6 million in 2009 but once they start to borrow money instead of budgeting for it that Debt Service will start going up and up. The democrat Freeholders are doing what Democrats do best – saying they are saving you money today but borrowing what they need and mortgaging your children’s futures.
If you want to think about a mortgage think about the $18 million (yes, that’s $18,000,000.00) the Freeholders have in the 2010 budget for a new administration building.) Do you remember any public discussions about the need for a new building? I don’t. Maybe we could squeeze by with what we have if the current Freeholders weren’t contemplating giving themselves new, expensive offices in the existing county building.
Didn’t the Freeholders recently almost have apoplexy over having to spend $12 million for a new prosecutor’s office? The Democrat Freeholders didn’t seem to hesitate at all to spend $18 million for themselves. If we need a new prosecutor’s office and we need a a new administration building wouldn’t it save money to combine the two projects? Do we really need $30 million (yes, that’s $30,000,000.00) for new buildings for the county? Has anyone in county government looked at combining the two projects for some cost savings? How about building a new county jail somewhere other than in the middle of Bridgeton (harming its ability to rejuvenate itself) and converting the existing jail into a prosecutor’s office and administration building?
To sum up a tedious process we went through in total the 2009 Operating budget (money actually spent to run the county) is $12 million more than the 2008, That is an 11% increase over 2008. It’s not a cut. Don’t be fooled.
If you are happy with the way our money has been spent over the past 7 years (your county taxes doubled during that time) then I guess you should elect democrats again this year. But if instead you want voices of reason in the room when your money is being spent then you need to vote for the Republican alternative. Tonnetta, Sheppard and Fiocchi. Say no to 7-0.
Republican Candidate for Cumberland County Freeholder
275 Sayres Neck Rd.
Cedarville, NJ 08311