UCCF 4/14/16 Miscellany: Dog Shelters and Presentations

By John Bury | May 3, 2016

From the April 28, 2016 freeholder meeting:

Saving dogs in Union County:
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Arbor Day poem winners:
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Getting back your own money – less the cost of the oversized checks:
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Why Open Space Vote in 2016?

By John Bury | April 29, 2016

Union County is misappropriating about $10 million annually of the Open Space tax for their own general budget and they want to continue that practice indefinitely by placing the question on the 2016 ballot for some reason.  At last night’s freeholder meeting the reason was provided:

Continue reading “Why Open Space Vote in 2016?”

Open Space Tax Theft – By County

By John Bury | April 28, 2016

Which counties are misappropriating for their own general budgets tax money intended for the purchase and maintenance of open space properties.  Certainly Union County as I outlined in a letter in today’s Westfield Leader:

You [Leader/Times editorial] argue that the county Open Space Tax should sunset in 2020 to provide taxpayer relief. But, in making your points, you fail to appreciate the extent to which Union County has been openly using this money for their own budget rather than its intended purpose, the acquisition of open space. In the 2016 budget, revenue is anticipated from:

  • Sheet 8A – Open Space-Parks Maintenance: $2,250,000
  • Sheet 8: Debt Service – Open Space: $4,464,841

Municipalities would likely prefer to use that $2.25 million to pay for maintenance of their own (instead of the county’s) parks and that $4.4 million is going to repay general debt of the county as there has been more than enough money collected through the Open Space tax (about $10 million annually since 2001) to pay for everything bought through it.

This is blatant theft by deception and the county is looking for the blessing of a willfully benighted electorate to vote to continue this fraud in perpetuity. My guess as to why the freeholders want a ballot question this early is that some ratings agency may have noticed this substantial revenue in danger of being lost if county voters ever wake up to how it is being misappropriated.

Are any other counties pulling the same stunts?

Continue reading “Open Space Tax Theft – By County”

OPRA Primer

By John Bury | April 26, 2016

Walter Luers, Esq. of NJFOG provided some valuable information on the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the Open Public Meeting Act (OPMA) at a seminar tonight in Cranford and here, separately by topic, are the main points covered:

Continue reading “OPRA Primer”

April Miscellany

By John Bury | April 25, 2016

More resolutions from the 4/14/16 freeholder meeting:

2016-305: Authorizing the County Manager to repay the US Department of Housing & Urban Development the sum of $51,590 for HOME funds invested in the 2000 New Century Homes project that was terminated before completion as a result of a bankruptcy filing by the developer. Repayment is required per HUD regulation 24CFR 92.503 (b) (2).

2016-335: Authorizing the County Manager to sign any and all documents necessary to enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Assistant Prosecutor’s Association, Prosecutor’s Office, effective January 1, 2015 through December 31,2017.

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Linden High School Boys Basketball honored:
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Rahway River Park Stadium now:
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Reminder: NJFOG OPRA/OPMA discussion:
Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
The Cranford Community Center
220 Walnut Avenue
Cranford, NJ 07016
Community Room
Located on the first floor
More information and to sign up here.

Union/Morris Budget Comparison – 2016

By John Bury | April 21, 2016

Back at nj.com I did comparisons for 2008,  2009 and 2010 of the Union and Morris County budgets and did 2011, 2013, and 2015 here.  Both counties serve about 500,000 people though Morris, with a larger land mass and a county library, seems to do it for a lot less. Here is the 2016 update comparing the budgets introduced by Morris County last month and Union County* last week:

Continue reading “Union/Morris Budget Comparison – 2016”

UCCF 4/14/16: 2016 Budget Videos

By John Bury | April 18, 2016

2016-314: Resolution to exceed the County tax levy limit and to establish a CAP Bank (N.J.S. 40A: 4-45.14)

2016-315: Resolution Introducing and Approving the Annual Budget of the County of Union for the Fiscal Year 2016.

Official explanation:

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Questions on Tax Cap and Scotch Plains Business Administrator overseeing the county budget:
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Summit’s take:
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NJFOG is visiting Union County

By John Bury | April 17, 2016

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

The Cranford Community Center
220 Walnut Avenue
Cranford, NJ 07016
Community Room Located on the first floor

Want to learn more about how to make a proper OPRA request and what records you can access? Want to ensure your town better complies with public meeting rules?

Join the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government at the Cranford Community Center the evening of April 26th for a discussion of the state’s open public records and meetings laws (OPRA and OPMA).

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the laws that provide public access to government meetings and documents, allowing citizens greater insight into the operations of state and local governments in New Jersey.  The forum is open to everyone, so bring your questions on April 26 and help us spread the word. Handouts and light refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend, please register at the NJFOG website to let us know so that we can have enough materials for everyone. Thank you!

UCCF 4/14/16: Getting Voter Approval For Theft

By John Bury | April 15, 2016

2016-313: Resolution requesting the County Clerk to print upon the official ballot for the general election, to be held on November 8, 2016, a referendum proposition authorizing the extension of the “Union County Open Spaced Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.”

The party line:
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The questions:
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The truth:
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In the 2016 budget revenue is anticipated from:

Sheet 8A – Open Space-Parks Maintenance: $2,250,000
Sheet 8: Debt Service – Open Space: $4,464,841

Municipalities would likely prefer to use that $2.25 million to pay for maintenance of their own (instead of the county’s) parks and that $4.4 million is going to repay general debt of the county as there has been more than enough money collected through the Open Space tax (about $10 million annually since 2001) to pay for everything bought through it.

This is blatant theft by deception and the county is looking for the blessing of a willfully benighted electorate through a process with about as much credibility and dignity as….

Continue reading “UCCF 4/14/16: Getting Voter Approval For Theft”

UCCF 4/14/16: Pork Over Pensions

By John Bury | April 14, 2016

We will find out this election day just how ignorant the voters of Union County are based on a resolution that was passed at tonight’s freeholder which we will get to in the next blog.

But first, trying to wise up people whose jobs are contingent on believing what they are told, however nonsensical.

Continue reading “UCCF 4/14/16: Pork Over Pensions”