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Scotch Plains Democrats Slam DePaola for Sticking Residents with Gimmick

On the day sewer taxes are due, Democratic Candidates Glover and Gialanella criticize DePaola.


The following information was provided by the Scotch Plains Democrats.

On October 1st, the day the latest installment of the Scotch Plains sewer tax is due, Scotch Plains Democratic Chairman Lou Beckerman reminded voters that they have Mary De Paola to thank for creating this new tax.

“In 2009 Mary De Paola and the Republican Controlled Council supported the removal of the Sewer bill from the municipal budget where it has always been, and created a new tax to pass on to Scotch Plains Taxpayers” said Beckerman.  “As residents pay their bills, they should also thank Mary for this new tax.”

“When the sewer tax came before the council, I stated it was nothing more than a gimmick designed to get around the 2% budget cap” said Mayoral candidate Kevin Glover.  “And that is why I voted against it.  I expressed to the citizens that this action was being taken to side step our responsibility to institute prudent and fiscally responsible measures to control costs and save taxpayer dollars.”

“What adds insult to injury is the fact that there is an $800,000 surplus in the sewer fund that Mary refuses to return to the taxpayers where it rightly belongs” added Glover.  “I have fought against the sewer tax and have fought to return the surplus to the residents.  Mary has been wrong on this issue every time.”

“A serious conversation about the sewer fee can't be had without first attacking the underlying issues that led to its existence, the continued inefficiencies of a municipal government that is no longer meeting the needs of the taxpayers that fund it,” said Council candidate Colleen Gialanella.  “While the two hundred plus dollars the average Scotch Plains household contributes to the sewer fee pales in comparison to the property taxes that already burden our residents, it really has become a source of insult to so many. What the current majority fails to understand is that the residents are not ignorant to these nonsensical antics. Because the residents of Scotch Plains are smarter than our current leadership would like them to be, they are more than capable of understanding just what is happening here. The sewer utility is an end run around the cap. Simply put, the sewer fee stinks.”

“Once elected, Kevin and Colleen will fight to eliminate the sewer tax and bring it back inside the municipal budget where it belongs.” declared Beckerman. 

For more information on the Scotch Plains Democrats please visit www.scotchplainsdems.com or follow us on Facebook.

 

Tired October 01, 2012 at 01:35 PM
How silly of me. I just reread the article and he lays it out very clearly, “Once elected, Kevin and Colleen will fight to eliminate the sewer tax and bring it back inside the municipal budget where it belongs.” declared Beckerman Basically they want to go back to the inequity of the past where everyone pays the same no matter how much water you use, wonderful.
ninja October 01, 2012 at 02:19 PM
you may be getting charged fairly base upon your usage, but if there is a $800,000 surplus, everyone is getting overcharged by an average of $32 annually...so the "conservative" republicans just basically passed off a tax increase by tricking you into believing you were getting the fair deal, when you are actually getting the short end of the stick...where have we seen this before?
Amy G October 01, 2012 at 02:28 PM
so let me get this straight. Mr. Glover and the Democrats advocate putting the sewer fee "back in the budget where it belongs." And when this happens the sewer fee disappears, but my property taxes go up to an even greater degree because there are many tax exempt properties that would not pay for their sewer usage. talk about gimicks!
ninja October 01, 2012 at 02:31 PM
i never said i supported the democrats decision to put it back in the budget and make it equal, but it's still a tax passed by republicans that was overcharged and they now refuse to return it to you and will instead use it for a purpose entirely different than it was collected and intended for
Tom Russo October 01, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Why should the rest of us subsidize the sewer use of a a private entity that uses massive amounts of water like a restaurant/banquet facility or a laundromat?
Holden MaGroin October 01, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for faith. Thanks for asking for my opinion. I happen to have one. It's going to take a couple of comment boxes because I'm going to be Tolstoy. I agree with Mr. Glover's statement that the poop tax was a way to get around the 2% growth law. With that said, I do have to wonder what options the council really had, given the explosive growth of sewer fees from the sewer authority. So while I don't like it, and if we have to pay it, my issue is that it's structured such that we can't at least deduct that amount on our taxes. I think it speaks to a broader issue of understanding the citizen's needs and concerns. I point to a few examples. There's the $800k surplus that the repub majority voted 3-2 (dems opposed) to not refund us that overpayment. Those voting to keep our money were malool, vastine, and depowla. The repubs excuse was they would hold it and it would make increases look lower in the next years. They then took $125k of our overpayment and bought a sewer jet truck with it. Instead of using money from the operating budget or asking for a bond, they just dipped into the extra cash they had laying around from us.
Holden MaGroin October 01, 2012 at 03:25 PM
As far as saying it's fair because they now charge churches, schools and non-profits for peeing, I would say that Fanwood residents also relieve themselves in our schools, churches and non-profits and Scotch Plains is paying for the Fanwood bathroom habits of those people through this tax. Also, at least with the schools, because they tax us as well, SP people are seeing that increase in the school tax. So the repubs just switched that tax from their budget to the school budget. So if the school has to pay for Fanwood kids to relieve themselves on SP taxes, then they have to cut something else to stay within their cap. I would rather pay for another club at the HS, or maybe middle school sports instead of for additional flushes. But now the repubs can point fingers at the schools and not themselves by switching this cost from our left pocket to our right pocket.
Holden MaGroin October 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I personally believe it’s because some candidates are just out of touch. I will link an article from awhile ago that I think also proves my point. There was a council meeting where they were fighting again. The first topic was about a joint insurance fund our town participates in. It costs us $2M a year and Glover wanted to send it out to bid. Below is a snippet from my linked article. “Council members said they were unsure whether the JIF offered the best deal for the township. But they said that the deal appeared reasonable and, given the deadline, argued in favor of approving JIF membership.” I ask, why do they think “reasonable” is ok if they’re not sure if it’s the best deal? The next part of the meeting was about do not knock notification for solicitors and I think really encapsulates candidate Depowla’s thoughts on us voters. “The conversation then turned to whether residents should have stickers on their doors as well as (or instead of) simply being on the list, and the cost of those stickers.” "I think citizens should pay for stickers," Councilwoman Mary DePaola said. Instead of paying for a sticker, it was proposed that solicitors be required to buy the list. "It's fine," DePaola responded, "as long as someone is being charged."
Holden MaGroin October 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I have to think that appointed mayor depowla is just out of touch with us common folk. She often points out her qualifications for being a town leader because she’s an engineer, but I point out for you old-timers….. so was Choo-Choo Charlie. http://scotchplains.patch.com/articles/scotch-plains-council-approves-joint-insurance-fund-increased-towing-fees
Brian Lakewood October 01, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Tired - I am tired of you! STOP THE MARKSISM folks... How some people let Marty Marks still influence the town amazes me. As Scotch Plains residents, we need to stick up for our town and do what is right. Mary DePaola does not care! Thank you Holden for proving a point...
faith October 01, 2012 at 06:03 PM
thank u holden. i really appreciate all you knowledge.
Brian Lakewood October 01, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Holden - You should be the editor of the patch!
Holden MaGroin October 01, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and as long as we're discussing sewer fees and how the spending there is out of control, I bring you the following links so we can all see who is representing Scotch Plains' interests at the authority. Here's a surprise, former repub mayor Pappen. The first link announces that she was named chairman of the Board of Commisioners (shouldn't we be proud) and gives her long standing relationship with the sewers. It also lists her resume. The second link shockingly shows that she doesn't think that the commision can legally have an oversight group to check on their spending. That was in response to some mayors complaining about the higher cost to treat poop. Our town's response to the higher cost was not to demand that Pappen get us some answers and act as a chairperson should....we just decided to levy the poop tax. This to me is another example of the same 5 or 6 people that just change hats and don't want to hold each other's feet to the fire for us little people. They hand pick who they can control and if that person disobeys they go to the malool/bratti scrap heap. My vote this november will be an attempt to stop this horrible 15+ year cycle. http://www.rahwayvalleysa.com/rvsa_news/NewOfficers2008.shtml http://scotchplains.patch.com/articles/njcom-mayors-want-oversight-commitee-for-sewer-authority
Jenni October 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Just read the above links provided by Holden - two words sum it up - Holy crap!!!
Tired October 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM
ninja, I agree t's the taxpaers money and it should be returned plain and simple.
Tired October 02, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Holden, I think I'm missing something. How exactly is Mayor Depaolo out of touch because she wants the people involved in 1) soliciting or 2) not wanting the door knocks to pay for the items used in informing each other RATHER then the taxpayers of SP? Also when consolidation is completely implemented won't those fanwood flushers will be all rolled into the same sewar fee program? I'm also confused as to how switching the cost from my pocket to the users pocket isn't acceptable to you? Oddly enough it seems no one care the Dems who've been running the County of Union for about 40 years impose massive taxes increases on us but not a word out of anyone about that. What's your opinion on that Holden?
Tired October 02, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Brian, I didn't even know Marty Marks was still involved in town activites. I call 'em as I see 'em. If you like paying more for your water because it's burried in your property tax and you can't see it, amen to you brother.
Holden MaGroin October 02, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for tired. The reason I feel depaola is out of touch are many. The article I linked showed that depaolas first response was to charge the people. Why should I pay to prevent someone I don't want from knocking on my door? It was only after malool and the others on council talked it out that she agreed to the solicitors paying for the list. To me this shows her instinct is to not think of the citizens first. My pocket comparison was in regards to charging the schools. We still all pay the costs but the council shifted it from their books to the school. Net effect is we still pay but the schools have less to spend on middle school sports or clubs or whatever because they have a cap also. Back to out of touch. Depaolas comments on the cell tower seemed to say, as long as we get paid, so what that it's near a school. It took a week of incredulous comments for her to send a poorly worded semi retraction. Again, poor instincts and good insights on her priorities. Regarding county deems....they spend like drunken sailors and should be stopped. We don't need a gov't run banquet hall at galloping hill to compete against private business owners. If I want to go to a concert I will find one to my liking and pay. Don't need the free ones from the county. I hoped I've answered your questions, but if not, let me know.
Tired October 02, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Holden it seems to me we agree more then we disagree. But I still don't think the town should pay for to give you an anti door knockin sign. It was an impromptu debate and Mayor Depaolo was right when she said "as long as some one is being charged..." as in as long as the town and all taxpers don't pay for it.... I think she deserves the benefit of the doubt. I think the school issue is minor compared to everyone in town paying for what they use. If we want more in the way of clubs and sports cut back on a teacher or some BOE employees. After all you do remember how we lost those clubs and middle school sports don't you?
Lance October 02, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Holden does his research. Thanks for the education.
Bo Vastine October 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Regarding the above referenced article...Joan Pappen was replaced with Bob LaCosta almost two years ago.
Holden MaGroin October 02, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Bo and Tired. Bo- that is true, but when did the poop tax come into effect do to a 31% increase in sewer spending? Marks is no longer mayor and we're still paying for his decisions as well. Tired- I think you're right that we probably do share more opinions then we differ. I also don't think the town should pay for do not knocks. I think that the ultimate decision that was made having the solicitors buy the list was the correct way to go. My problem is, as you point out is that in impromptu debates, candidate depaola doesn't consider the taxpayer first. If the rest of council didn't steer her, the citizens would be paying, not the solicitors. When your personal income is not a concern in decision making, how do you look out for the poor slobs like us? As far as losing school things, I used middle school sports and clubs because they were hot button issues when they were cut. I do remember when that took place. That was when the board of education used misguided logic thinking we could swallow that large of a tax increase. The budget was defeated and those things got cut. I also tried to make the point that the budget for the school could have some freed up money for those things again, but they now have to pay the flush tax. If they also have a cap, and the tax is required, something else has to be cut. I think they call that the opportunity cost but I might be wrong.
Bo Vastine October 02, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Holden...it’s ironic that you ask that question. We had the people from RVSA in our meeting last night and we went through some historical perspective. The tremendous increase from the RVSA...and subsequent sewer fee outside of your taxes, took place in 2009 as I recall. At that time, the court ordered RVSA to make significant upgrades to their facility and they were under court order to comply. As a result, they made the improvements as ordered...and passed the cost on to the eleven towns that send sewage to them for processing. As I understand the situation...the Council was forced with making the decision of either removing the fees from taxes to get out from under the cap...or lay off employees in Police, DPW and other areas. Needless to say, this was not a fun decision to make, but it had to be made. The decision at the time, by the majority of council, was to shift the cost to those who actually use the service...versus everyone subsidizing through a blended average. We did not have a choice to pay the RVSA…and we were, and still are, only one vote on the board. We have expressed our concerns and our desires for the direction they take, but we are still only one voice.
Michael Lewis October 02, 2012 at 04:43 PM
RVSA costs may be a straight passthrough beyond the control of member towns (we in Fanwood may well be running into something similar soon) but the Authority made some bad choices along the way that only made matters worse: http://www.goleader.com/11jun02/11jun02.pdf These might have been mitigated with better oversight and accountability. By the way, in trying to find a link such as the above I actually took a look at the article on the RVSA refinancing in last week's SP Times: http://www.goleader.com/12sep27/12sep27.pdf I would hope that - in the course of the SP Council presentation - SOMEONE asked some detailed questions on the money that is being flowed through to support the public-private partnership pertaining to the Cogeneration plant, and most especially on the back-ended balloon payments that will require similar assessments down the road. I suspect that it will come as a budgetary surprise to some poor souls long after we have all eased on down the road.
Holden MaGroin October 02, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Michael Lewis. Thanks for the links. They speak to my point that the commisioners from each town were supposed to be minding the store for those they represent. Instead we get the prestige of having a chairperson of the group from scotch plains and soaring costs. What exactly did these commisioners do? Did they get paid or just get in a line to have a sewer cover named after them? To then have the gall to say that it's illegal to have a group that would provide budgetary oversight is, to me, pompous and reflective of how we have been governed.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Hi Michael: See this article for the costs discussed by the RVSA at last night's meeting... http://scotchplains.patch.com/articles/rvsa-answers-questions-at-scotch-plains-council-meeting
Michael Lewis October 02, 2012 at 09:06 PM
@Nicole - Thank you, but I am with Holden and Jenni on this one - the article you cite throws around a lot of numbers that have no context. Appreciate the effort though.
neveragain October 02, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Holden, you're so good at finding old articles, try to find this one: Several years ago there was a series of articles in the Star-Ledger regarding the excessive amount of public funds spent by the RVSA (when Joan Papen was our member) on Christmas parties at such fancy places as the Echo Lake Country Club, trips to swell locations for all kinds of "educational" conferences, and other such things that public money has no business being spent on. Do you recall that? i sure do - it was an outrage!
faith October 02, 2012 at 09:44 PM
again holden thank u so much for your information.
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 03:50 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for neveragain. I did find some articles on this but I'm having some linking problems with nj.com. I hope to be able to attach them in the morning.

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