The following information was provided by the Scotch Plains Republicans.
Scotch Plains Mayor Mary DePaola and Councilman Ed Saridaki spoke today on the fallout from a recent call from Scotch Plains Democrats to increase property taxes to pay for sewer usage.
In a press release earlier this week, Democrats Kevin Glover and Colleen Gialanella, candidates for Mayor and Council respectively, went on record demanding that the cost for sewer usage be placed back in the general budget “where it belongs” without informing residents what the implications would be for their property taxes.
“Our residents are pretty smart and they are not going to be fooled by this kind of campaign season nonsense. My phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from incensed taxpayers," said Mayor DePaola. "The simple fact is that eliminating the Scotch Plains Sewer Utility would result in an immediate $2.9 million property tax increase for our residents and businesses."
DePaola continued, "With state imposed property tax caps to consider, not only would the Glover-Gialanella plan spike our taxes, it would also necessitate across the board cuts to essential personnel and services in our police, fire, and public works departments.”
The current sewer budget for Scotch Plains is $2,900,359. This amount pays for sewage treatment costs, as well as the salaries of those who handle the administrative duties of the Authority and the physical maintenance of the sewer system. The Glover-Gialanella Plan would immediately transfer these costs back to taxpayers instead of all the users of the sewer system.
"What the Glover-Gialanella team proposes is not only a property tax nightmare, it is inherently unfair," said Councilman Saridaki. "Under their plan, sewer fees would no longer be based on water usage and taxpayers would be forced to pay for the sewer usage of property tax exempt properties across Scotch Plains."
The current Scotch Plains Sewer Utility was established in 2010 by the Scotch Plains Township Council. Prior to its establishment, the cost of sewer usage contributed $358 a year to the average property taxpayer's bill. Since creation of the Sewer Utility, the average property owner pays approximately $250 per year for sewer use.
"This is just another example – like taking taxpayer-paid health benefits – of the Glover-Gialanella Team's on-going effort to cost taxpayers more than they should have to pay," concluded DePaola.